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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Thousands remain without power in Puget Sound area

Update | 11:15 p.m:

Seattle City Light outages now down to five customers.  There are still about 19,700 Puget Sound Energy customers in the dark, but PSE expects to cut that in half by morning.

Update | 10:30 p.m:

Puget Sound Energy expects to restore power to another 10,000 customers by morning, cutting in half the 19,700 homes and businesses still affected by outages at about 10 p.m. today.  Barring any new outages, PSE said it expects to fix the majority of the remaining outages by tomorrow evening.

PSE said it has 57 crews working, with an additional 7 arriving.

“We appreciate your patience as crews continue working through the night,” PSE said on its Facebook page.  “Safety is our top priority.”

Seattle City Light continues to chip away at its outages, too.  It now has about 156 customers without power, of which 143 are in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  A spokesman earlier said City Light expected to have power restored in Queen Anne by 1 a.m.

Update | 8:40 p.m:

While outages in Seattle are now down to 265 homes and businesses, Puget Sound Energy reports that it still has 641 outages affecting about 25,600 customers.  North King County has the most, with 11,200 customers in the dark, followed by Kitsap County with 6,800 and South King County with about 2,000.

A spokesman said crews hope to make good progress tonight, but weather-related problems and the darkness make the work slow-going in some areas.  He did not have an estimate for when the power will return.

Update | 8:15 p.m:

In Seattle, there are 21 remaining outages affecting 265 customers.  The biggest involves Queen Anne hill, where 143 customers are still without power.  Seattle City Light said it is starting to re-hang wire in that area, but doesn’t expect all the power to be restored until 11 p.m.-1 a.m.  The second biggest outage — affecting 97 customers — is in South Park, which is expected to be fixed by 10 p.m.  The remaining 19 outages are mostly one-customer affairs, so progress will slow down, the utility said.

A spokesman for Puget Sound Energy said he will have an update soon.

Update | 4:52 p.m:

As the football game finished, Puget Sound Energy said it still has 705 outages system-wide affecting 36,414 customers. There are 10 circuits and one substation out.

Seattle City Light said its crews are working to restore power to about 300 homes and businesses in 40 separate outages. A swathe of Queen Anne hill is still without power and isn’t expected to have it until later this evening because of multiple downed power lines.

Crews are working on repairs around the region.

Update | 2:25 p.m:

Puget Sound Energy just tweeted that 40,000 customers are without power due to 624 different outages. Most are in Kitsap County and North King County communities, including Redmond and Woodinville. The utility provided this breakdown:  13,700 customers without power in North King County; 10,300 in Kitsap County;  7,800 in South King County; 2,400 in Thurston County; 2,000 on Vashon Island; 1,900 in Whatcom County; and 1,100 in Skagit County.

Thirty-six crews are working to restore power and another 13 crews are now being dispatched, according to PSE.

Update | 2:08 p.m:

Comcast-cable TV outages due to today’s stormy weather are leaving small pockets around the Puget Sound region without television service during the big Seahawks NFC divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field.

As the game started at 1:35 p.m. on Channel 13, Steve Kipp, Comcast vice president of communications, said approximately 15,000 customers in Western Washington — Aberdeen to Bellingham — were without residential video service “due almost entirely to power outages.”

About 181 business customers in Seattle had no TV service. For all of Western Washington, about 300 businesses were without TV service.

Comcast supervisor Ladonna Vaughan said the outage was sporadic around Seattle and its suburbs and affected spots as small as single blocks.

She said areas affected include “in Seattle, four different block areas; in Bellevue, a couple of blocks; in Sammamish, five or six different blocks; two blocks in Kent; in Auburn, several blocks.”

“It’s just sporadic,” said Vaughan. “It looks like this is due to the weather. … They have technicians working on it.”

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and Seattle City Light crews are also working across the region to restore electricity.

City Light said the storm knocked out power to more than 28,000 customers before 5 a.m. today and that within six hours crews had restored power to more than 20,000 of those.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the Seattle City Light outage Website said more than 2,600 customers were without power. A concentrated area of residential homes was out north of Ravenna, with the outage map resembling the chart of an irregular heartbeat, stretching from I-5 west toward the lake and oscillating between NE 50th and NE 75th streets.

Just south of NE 75th St., one of Dawn Wright’s neighbors knocked on her door to ask for help when he noticed that Wright’s home still had power. He had his mother-in-law and a bunch of friends over for the game, but the power was out.

The neighbor provided a long extension cord and Wright plugged it in so they could watch the game.

Then shortly after 2 p.m., as the first quarter of the game ended, Seattle City Light tweeted that power was restored in the Ravenna/Bryant area.

“We have less than 250 customers still without power,” City Light tweeted. “Crews won’t stop working until everyone is back on.”

Still, early this afternoon, PSE tweeted concern about worsening weather ahead.

“It’s starting to get windy again in most areas, which makes it hard to predict restoration times as new storm damage occurs,” PSE’s tweet said.

PSE spokesman Ray Lane said “the power going out is a big deal, especially on a Seahawks Playoff Saturday.”

“It’s all hands on deck for us right now,” Lane said.

Vaughan said Comcast service is fed via “nodes” to different customers, city block by city block. “It’s the node that feeds all these little areas” that’s down, she said.

“As you can imagine this issue is changing by the hour. Cable television service is likely out wherever power is out at this point,” said Kipp.

The TV screens in The Seattle Times newsroom in South Lake Union froze early Saturday, though Internet and phone service were unaffected. The TVs in the newsroom came on again at 12:40 p.m., then froze again just as the Seahawks extended its lead to 6-0.

Comcast’s Washington Web site and Twitter feed both provided updates for those with Internet access.

Nearby, Sean McClure, a bartender at Paddy Coyne’s pub, said they’ve had TV service without disruption.

McClure said many people had been calling to say their cable service was down and asking if the pub had service for the game.

Just before noon he said the bar wasn’t yet packed. “I’ve a feeling it will be soon,” he said.

As kickoff approached, the message on the Comcast Web site was focused on the possibility of service disruptions during the football game due to “today’s horribly timed windstorms.”

“We’re worried that this could happen closer to the start of the Hawks and Saints game than anyone would want, and we’re sorry if that happens,” the Comcast message said.

“We have had people in the field since early morning, tracking repairs made by power company crews and restoring service,” the message added. “Our crews are out there in Beast Mode to get the game to you.”

0 Comments | Topics: Comcast, Seahawks outage

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