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Crews Make Progress Restoring Power

December 28, 2021

Crews work to restore power during a snowstorm

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 5:30 p.m.

The snowstorm that blanketed the western Oregon starting Sunday evening knocked out power for more than 850 Eugene Water & Electric Board customers, but line crews, troubleshooters and contract tree-trimmers worked tirelessly overnight Monday through Tuesday evening to restore power to nearly all customers.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, just a single customer remained without power. We expect to restore electric service to this customer before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

With snow continuing to fall early Tuesday morning, several additional trees came down onto power lines, causing a scattering of new outages. Crews were able to keep pace with the new outages while concentrating on restoring customers still without power in the McKenzie River Valley.

Because additional snow and freezing temperatures are forecast for the next few days, we want to remind customers that damaged or distressed trees could still come down along with energized power lines. As snow falls, melts, and refreezes, you may see falling trees. Please stay away from trees that could fall.

Safety is EWEB’s first priority. Avoid any downed powerlines and remember that trees, branches, water/puddles, and fences can all conduct electricity and cause harm. Stay vigilant with children and pets.

If a downed line is across a street or sidewalk, call 911. If a downed line is in a yard, call EWEB at 1-866-485-2300.

If you see a downed line, stay at least 50 feet away (about the length of two buses). Treat every downed line as though it were live.

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 11 a.m.

Crews and troubleshooters made better than expected progress Monday afternoon through Monday night, restoring two larger outages in the Holden Creek and Walterville areas.

Approximately 800 customers have been restored as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, and 84 customers remain without power. Crews expect to restore power to most if not all customers by 10 p.m. Tuesday.

There are two full crews working in the Eugene area and four crews working from Thurston east to Vida.

Restoring service to the remaining customers is likely to be more labor- and time-consuming. The damage sustained at the service line level (think fenced backyards with no vehicle access) often takes the longest to repair. A crew might spend the same amount of time restoring power to a few customers as it takes to restore power to several hundred customers.

We expect some customers will have damage to their weatherhead or meter base. These customers will not be restored until a licensed electrician makes the necessary repairs and submits a supervisory letter to EWEB. Customers in this situation should contact an electrician in order to speed up their restoration.

Safety is our first priority. As snow falls, melts and refreezes, you may see or hear falling trees. Please stay clear of any tree that could fall. Avoid any downed power lines and remember that trees, branches, water/puddles, and fences can all conduct electricity and cause harm. If possible, stay indoors and be vigilant with children and pets.

  • If a downed line is across a street or sidewalk, call 911. If a downed line is in a yard, call EWEB at 1-866-485-2300.
  • If you see a downed line, stay at least 50 feet away (that is about the length of two buses). Treat every downed line as though it were live.

Crews are actively working to restore power to our remaining customers while keeping safe, including following COVID protocols. Please give them space to complete work.

Updated Monday, Dec. 27 at 10 p.m.

Our line crews made better than expected progress tonight. They are on pace to restore service to about 650 customers by 11 p.m. Crews on Sunday and early Monday morning restored service to more than 600 customers.

Crews and troubleshooters were able to complete the following restorations in the past four hours:

  • 223 customers restored near Deerhorn Park, including Madrone Street, Omlid Drive, Bridge Street and Deerhorn Road
  • 86 customers around Dillard Road restored
  • 82 customers in the River Road area restored
  • 26 customers in the Hilyard Street area restored
  • Crews are working on the last large outage in the Walterville/south Deerhorn Road areas, including Tonga Lane, Chita Loop, Tiki Lane and York Lane. Most if not all of the 187 customers affected by this outage should be restored by 11 p.m.
  • Crews restored 227 customers in the area of River Loop 1/Wilkes Drive at 4:30 p.m.

Crews on Tuesday morning will begin tackling the remaining 98 customers still without power. Most of these outages are single home service lines and tap lines that affect five or fewer customers. 

Thanks to all of our customers for your patience.

Updated Monday, Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.

Crews just restored about 225 customers in the River Loop 1/Wilkes Drive area of River Road. Another crew is working in southeast Eugene to clear lines with significant tree damage.

Another crew just completed repairs in the Spyglass area caused by an underground cable failure. Underground power lines often take longer to repair than overhead lines.

Crews continue to de-energize downed power lines that came down Sunday night and early Monday morning. They are also assessing damage that occurred overnight and are working to restore service to customers who are still without electricity today.

The crews and troubleshooters that worked Sunday morning through Monday morning restoring more than 600 customers returned to work this afternoon after completing mandatory rest periods.

Crews will move upriver this evening to begin repairs for two large outages in the south Deerhorn Road/Tonga Lane area and that includes parts of Deerhorn, Holden Creek Lane and Madrone Street. Because of the significant damage, it is unlikely they will restore those outages before Tuesday and possibly Wednesday in some cases.

With a handful of exceptions, the smaller outages with five or fewer customers will not be restored until Tuesday or Wednesday. We will have more information Tuesday morning.

How we restore power

We follow a "hierarchy of repair" when restoring power after a storm-caused outage. This system is used throughout the utility industry to get power turned on the fastest to the highest number of people.

The order of priority means first repairing downed transmission and distribution lines that will restore power to the greatest number of people, then we focus on repairing lines that serve fewer customers.

We focus our efforts on repairing one feeder line, for example, which can power to 500 or more customers. Then we focus on distribution lines that serve a few hundred customers. Finally, crews will focus on repairing small “tap” lines that serves a few people in a neighborhood before turning their attention to service lines that supply a single home or business.

Some important tips

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 us via the outage reporting line at 1-844-484-2300.

If your power is restored and then goes out again, please contact us.