Our dispatchers, field supervisors and front-line leaders do a great job planning and executing emergency responses while taking inclement weather and employee safety into account.John Lahti, Transmission Field Services vice president
The Bonneville Power Administration experienced two dozen outages that began when the weather started rapidly deteriorating on Dec. 22. Outages continued past the holiday as high winds continued knocking out power.
“Our crews get battle-tested each winter with every storm that rolls in,” said John Lahti, Transmission Field Services vice president. “I'm very proud of how our field employees and dispatch centers came together and responded to these storm related outages. The biggest challenge during this response was definitely the weather conditions and balancing a timely response while keeping our crews safe.”
BPA mostly responded to issues stemming from trees falling on lower-voltage lines and other points of delivery.
“It’s hard to compare to other events,” said Steve Felker, Munro Dispatch supervisor. “This was of course an interesting one-two-three punch with cold weather followed by ice and then a wind storm.”
It took BPA and various other utilities longer to repair lines in some instances where conditions were too dangerous for crews to assess or repair.
“When events happen around Christmas, there are always a lot of folks on leave, which requires either calling them in off of leave, or patching crews together, but Transmission Field Services always responds and makes repairs as quickly and safely as possible,” said Felker.
Still, storm conditions left numerous residents and businesses without power, with many experiencing outages for more than 24 hours.
“Our dispatchers, field supervisors and front-line leaders do a great job planning and executing emergency responses while taking inclement weather and employee safety into account,” said Lahti. “Our teams understand the importance of restoring power as soon as safely possible to our communities, especially during times of extreme temperatures.”
BPA has restored power from this particular event, but weather-related outages happen throughout the year with varying intensity. Atmospheric rivers, windstorms and wildfires can all impact transmission lines.
The administrator adopted staff’s proposal for allocating the $500 million Power RDC amount.
Dibble permanently takes over the role on Jan. 15 after serving in an acting capacity since January 2022.
Most Northwest electricity comes from hydropower generated on the Columbia River which originates in Canada. Meet the BPA employee working with our neighbors to the north to manage river flows.