BPA was well positioned to serve the region during this significant weather event.

 John Hairston, Administrator and CEO of BPA

A prolonged winter weather event encased significant portions of the Northwest in snow or ice over the holiday weekend of Feb. 13-15, and damage from the storms resulted in hundreds of thousands of homes without power in some of the hardest hit areas south of Portland.  

While Bonneville Power Administration experienced numerous line outages due to off-right-of-way trees falling into lines, transmission dispatchers were able to reroute power quickly in most cases and minimize the impacts to customers. Additionally, BPA's weather forecasters gave Power Services ample lead time to reschedule planned generation outages. Power staff also positioned several lower Columbia River hydroelectric projects to have extra water available to generate power to meet the region's power demands.

“BPA was well positioned to serve the region during this significant weather event," said John Hairston, Administrator and CEO of BPA. “In instances where off right-of-way trees fell on our lines, our transmission crews, substation operators and dispatchers were able to quickly address the problem and safely restore service to our customers."

Overnight on Friday, Feb. 12, the first wave of storm activity resulted in outages on 11 different transmission lines. BPA lost 20 megawatts of load at Consumer Power Inc. and the City of Monmouth, southwest of Salem, Oregon, as well as 5 MW of load to Portland General Electric on a line it owns coming out of the Oregon City Substation. BPA restored those loads by Saturday afternoon.

Saturday morning, a tree on a customer feeder line resulted in an outage on our Chehalis 69 kV bus and interrupted 164 MW of BPA load to Lewis County Public Utility District and the City of Centralia. BPA restored that load within about 2 hours.

On the Monday holiday, Feb. 15, BPA experienced four more transmission outages in the southern region of our service territory. This included 8 MW of lost generation at Cougar Dam, a federal hydroelectric project operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and 40 MW of lost generation at the Eugene Water and Electric Board's Carmen Smith hydroelectric project. BPA also experienced a loss of 15 MW of load to Tillamook People's Utility District and a loss of service to Columbia River People's Utility District during this period. All customer generation and load were restored by Monday afternoon.

With customer service and reliability needs on BPA’s system addressed, line crews with equipment and materials from our Salem and Ross Districts were sent to assist PGE, which had roughly a quarter of a million people without power as of that Monday evening. BPA maintains mutual aid agreements with all of its customers.

“In the Northwest, BPA is very much a part of the larger community, and we believe it's our duty to help one another in times of distress," said John Lahti, vice president of Transmission Field Services. “This time it was PGE who had the need. Next week, it might be the City of Minidoka in Idaho. It doesn't matter the size of the customer. In return, they help us when the need arises. It's how we take care of each other."

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