The snow, ice and wind storms of Jan. 15-25 challenged the City of Seattle and utilities throughout the Puget Sound area. Below you’ll find Seattle City Light’s report to Mayor Mike McGinn on our response to sustained outages that affected 29,200 homes and businesses.
Report to the Mayor
Snow, Ice and Wind Event January 15-25, 2012
Seattle City Light Outage Management Actions and Statistics
An early system moved into the Puget Sound area on Sunday, January 15 with little impact on services. The main storm event began very early in the morning on Wednesday, January 18th with a snowstorm that brought 5” to 8” accumulation of snow. It was followed by freezing rain on Thursday, the 19th, rain on Friday, the 20th and strong winds in the early morning on Saturday, the 21st and Sunday night the 22nd and again on Tuesday evening the 24th.
Storm Impacts to City Light
- 59 major events and lost 5 transmission lines
- 29,200 total number of customers affected by sustained outages during the 10-day period. (31,462 additional customers may have experienced an intermittent “cycle” but no outage).
- Four hours average outage duration and the longest was 21 hours on Maplewild Avenue Southwest in Burien.
- Four Major Transmission outages
- Tolt/Still Water
- Cedar Falls/Lake Youngs
- Bothell/North University
Pre-Storm System Investments and Preparation
Priority poles replaced
In 2008, implemented 4 year tree trimming cycle for distribution feeders
- Changed from single contractor to bid process with multiple contractors
- Focused on heavily treed areas with highest outage history at beginning of 4-year cycle and now moving into areas with fewer trees
Human Resource Management
2006 to Present
Operations Division Outage Preparation
- Weather briefings held to discuss and track weather pattern changes
- Managers and supervisors discussed preparation measures with crews and developed staffing plan to maintain crew levels
- Trucks were chained and ready for snow driving in advance (Tuesday night)
- Overhead and Underground Line Crews scheduled to report in and stand by at North andSouthServiceCentersto provide quick response to the storm
- Network Crews were readied for storm response activation
- Vegetation management emphasis dramatically lowered tree related outages (compared to past storms) even in areas prone to these outages
- UtilityCallCenteropen extended hours (11,700 outage calls )
- Account Executives available 24/7 to work with large customers
- Storm related web hits 88,360 to outage map
Outage Management System
In April 2011, City Light implemented an Outage Management System that provides tools to assist with identification and tracking of day to day and storm related events in the utility distribution system.
- Trouble Management Module for handling every day outage events
- Storm Management Module for major outage event
These modules provide the following functionality:
- Prioritize work when there are multiple outages
- Generate estimated time of restoration for outages
- Create and forward Trouble Calls electronically
- Send automated Call Backs to customers to notify them that power is restored
- Optimize Crew Deployment for Catastrophic Storms
- Develop “What If” scenarios which generate an estimate of how long all the outage work will take depending on the number of crews available (to assist with planning for mutual aid).