PGE: Restoring Portlanders' power could take 'many days'
Restoring power outages across Portland "may take many days," according to the electric utility serving the bulk of the community.
Elizabeth Latanner of Portland General Electric said Monday, Feb. 15, that the utility is going the best it can, but the damage has been "incredibly extensive."
As of 12:30 p.m. Monday more than 288,000 customers remain without power.
The utility is urging affected people to contact 211 for information about warming stations and transportation.
"If you think about the way power gets to people's homes from our generation plants as kind of a series of puzzle pieces, we have storm damage on every piece of that puzzle," she said. "All of those pieces have to be repaired and put back together in order to energize homes."
More than 200 miles of transmission lines, multiple substations and more than 100 feeders need to be repaired, she said, as well as nearly 5,000 downed wires.
As for what gets repaired first, Latanner said restoring power to hospitals or other buildings involving public safety will be at the top of the list.
Beyond that, "we work to restore the largest number of customers we can at a time."
That said, if it's just a downed wire and a quick fix, those could be taken care or more promptly, she said: "It really depends on the situation as to the length of the restoration."
One bit of good news? It does not appear that Portland needs to fear a replay of the catastrophic flooding of 1996.
While rain is expected later this week, it's expected to be Portland-style intermittent showers, not a deluge, said Clinton Rockey, a meteorologist with the Portland office of the National Weather Service.
"We don't anticipate flooding out of this," he said. "With temperatures warming up, the snow and ice will melt away. I think probably most areas will see it gone by Wednesday."
Ponding around snow-clogged drains is likely to be "our biggest issue over the next 24 hours."
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