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Overnight progress stalled by snow, new damage

February 27, 2019

Crews working at night in a snow storm to restore power

New snowfall overnight stalled restoration progress made over the past 48 hours as three major feeder lines and a transmission line went down Wednesday morning.

EWEB and contract crews late Tuesday night were able to reduce the number of customers without power to about 6,000. That figure is down from a high of more than 14,000 on Monday. Falling trees and snow damage brought down the Eugene-area feeder and transmission lines early Wednesday, and the number of customers without power climbed up to 7,800 as of 1 p.m.  

Feeder lines serve several hundred to more than 1,000 customers, while transmission lines serve several thousand customers.  

The loss of the Hawkins, Dillard, and Laurel feeder lines, in addition to the Laurel-Hilyard transmission line, has set back restoration estimates for much of EWEB's service area. There are two transmission lines and several feeder lines down in the McKenzie River Valley. The extensive damage from trees and snow along Highway 126 continues to hamper progress in restoring McKenzie-area customers.  

Some Eugene-area customers, primarily in the south, southeast and southwest parts of the city at higher elevations, should prepare to be without power for up to seven to 10 days, assuming weather conditions do not deteriorate further.

Many in the McKenzie River Valley could be without service for 10-14 days due to the devastating amount of tree damage, although some restorations are occurring as upriver repairs are underway.

Customers without power may want to contact family and friends to make arrangements to stay overnight if possible. If you have elderly neighbors without power, please check in on them. Lane County has launched a call center for non-emergency inquiries related to winter weather.  Please call (541) 682-3977 from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. for assistance.

There are 15 line crews, five two-person teams, three triage crews and six assessor squads working in the field Wednesday, assisted by eight tree crews. Eight of the crews are working in the city area, focusing on the west Eugene, River Road/Santa Clara and Ferry Street areas. Seven of the crews are working east of Springfield in the McKenzie River area. EWEB has requested additional outside assistance that may be available to support restoration.  

All the crews initially worked 30-hour shifts. They are now scheduled for 16 hours on and then eight hours off for rest. This schedule will continue until restoration is complete.

EWEB follows a "hierarchy of repair" when restoring power during major outages. This system is used throughout the utility industry to benefit the highest number of people as quickly as possible. Repairing one large feeder line can restore power to a thousand customers, while repairing a small "tap" line that serves a few people in a neighborhood often is more time consuming. The repair of the individual service line that provides power to a single home is often last on the restoration priority list.  

To speed up your restoration process, check to see if there is damage to your weatherhead or meter base on your home. If you find damage, please contact a licensed electrician to make those repairs and then have the electrician provide a supervisory letter to EWEB. 

Any customers experiencing flickering lights or partial power should contact EWEB via the outage reporting line at 1-844-484-2300. Those experiencing "brownouts" should turn off their main breaker and also contact EWEB.