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EWEB sends crew to assist with storm-driven outages north of Portland

April 18, 2022

EWEB bucket truck assisting Columbia River PUD.

Last week, EWEB dispatched a two-person crew with a bucket truck to assist with repairs and restoring electric service for Columbia River Public Utility District, which serves customers in Columbia County, north of Portland. 

Unseasonal storms across the state and especially in northern Oregon and at higher elevations resulted in outages for some of Columbia River PUD’s customers. 

“We always try to respond to requests for mutual aid from our fellow utilities. You never know when you’re going to need some extra help, so it’s best if we can try to look out for each other,” said Tyler Nice, EWEB’s electric operations manager. 

EWEB has 32 line technicians, so sending two to help Columbia River PUD did not impact current work obligations. 

Crews from various Northwest utilities have assisted EWEB during major storms events through the years, especially in February of 2019, when February snowstorm brought down hundreds of trees and took out power for thousands of EWEB customers, and also in 2016, when an ice storm caused outages for 20,000 customers.

Earlier this year, two EWEB crews traveled to Placerville, Calif. near Lake Tahoe to help restore power for thousands of Pacific Gas & Electric customers after winter storms dumped more than 10 feet of snow in some areas.

Mutual aid agreements spell out that the requesting utility pays for all labor, transport, equipment, travel, food and lodging costs incurred by the assisting utility.

The assignment to Columbia County lasted two days, and the crew returned to Eugene late last week.