AP NEWS

Douglas Electric releases number of crews working in areas still without power

March 6, 2019

More than 4,600 Douglas Electric Cooperative customers remain without power as of Tuesday morning.

Last week, the biggest snowstorm in decades decimated power infrastructure across Douglas County. Many residents will continue to be without power for weeks to come, according to Douglas Electric.

The utility currently has six crews and 15 trucks working in the Elkton, Scottsburg, Curtain and Upper Smith River areas, where it may be up to three weeks before power is restored. Nine crews and 31 trucks are working in the Scotts Valley, Elkhead, Hogan Road, Umpqua and Tyee areas, where the estimate is two more weeks without power. Ten crews and 30 trucks working in the Camas Valley, Tenmile, Melrose and Lookingglass areas, where the estimate is up to one more week without power. It may be as little as three more days for the Camas Valley area, according to Douglas Electric.

One crew consists of four workers, four excavators and six flaggers, according to Douglas Electric. The utility added two more crews that were released by Pacific Power over the weekend.

Pacific Power has restored power to nearly all of their Douglas County customers, with 56 outages reported in the area.

Douglas Electric customers have been without power longer than Pacific Power customers because Douglas Electric serves people in more rural areas than Pacific Power, according to Todd Munsey, spokesman for Douglas Electric.

Munsey said people may see trucks of other companies working on power lines, because outside contractors are working with Douglas Electric.

“We have so many contractors who are unfamiliar with our service territory, we have divided our crews and placed one member with each contractor or group of contractors,” Munsey said in a Monday evening press release.

“With so many helping us to restore the power, our concern turns to supplies,” Munsey said.

The utility continues to “search far and wide for poles, wire and other equipment necessary to complete restoration,” Munsey said in a Sunday evening press release.

On Monday, about one-fifth of crews worked to rebuild infrastructure while the rest worked on repairs, according to Munsey.

“While the numbers don’t show a great deal of progress today, crews worked steadily to get the system back in service,” Munsey said.

He said supply availability has been strained because other utilities such as Lane Electric Cooperative were affected by similar storm issues.

“This will be an ongoing effort, as running out of supplies is not an option,” Munsey said.

Late Monday morning, Munsey put out a statement saying that people have been approaching crews and asking for information about the restoration efforts. Doing so is “both dangerous and counterproductive,” Munsey said.

“In addition, it is slowing down the restoration process,” Munsey said. “While we understand the thirst for information, it is delaying the process and putting both individuals in danger.”

“Our linemen are not resources for information, they are simply trying to repair damage. Any time taken away from that means it will take longer to get everyone’s light back on. The horn-honking and ‘thumbs up’ are greatly appreciated, but we are encouraging everyone to please let our crews do their jobs.”

Douglas Electric cannot give power restoration updates for specific residences, according to Munsey.

“In the meantime, we are witnessing members helping members who are just trying to exist in these miserable conditions,” Munsey said.