PUD power outage numbers fall

Grays Harbor PUD customers experienced fewer power outages, interruptions and hours without power in 2018. A review of the utility system found that all three areas fell from 2017 totals and all were below the previous five-year average.

In 2018, PUD customers experienced 296 outages compared to 315 in 2017. That total was well below the five-year average of 400. The total number of customers out of power fell from over 73,000 in 2017 to 54,446, while the total number of impacted customer hours fell from over 264,000 to 198,483.

“This information lets us know what has been working and where we need to put more emphasis. When we budget for projects for the coming year these totals help point us to the spots that need our attention,” said PUD Commission President Russ Skolrood. “I’m very proud that our crews and engineers have built and are maintaining a system that is standing up to the heavy weather and environment we experience on the Washington coast.’

Tree and branch falls and storm related issues were the cause of 62% of the 2018 outages, a common culprit of Grays Harbor power interruptions over the years. Major storm events in December of 2018 accounted for well over half of the impacted customer hours, however an aggressive vegetation management program is credited with helping reduce those totals.

“Staying ahead of tree and plant growth is so important to our system reliability,” said General Manager Dave Ward. “Without the recurring cycle of tree trimming, removal and mowing, these outage numbers would be rising rather than falling. Our crews and contract tree crews have done a great job of staying on top of the tree growth that boarder our power lines.”

In addition to trees and storms, car versus pole collisions accounted for 16% of the total outages in 2018, while outages caused by equipment or mechanical failure came in at just 12%.