Puget Sound Energy prepares for power outages

Puget Sound Energy is closely monitoring the National Weather Service forecast of heavy rains and high winds, and is prepared to respond to power outages that may result from the storm front that is expected to reach the Puget Sound region Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The utility is also getting ready to respond to natural gas system requirements as a result of flooding or landslides.

“Our damage-assessment and line-repair crews are on alert with additional resources available to promptly determine the extent of damage and restore our customers’ power as quickly as possible,” said Sue McLain, senior vice president of Operations for PSE. “We are also preparing to respond to potential impacts on our natural gas system from any flooding or landslides caused by the heavy rains.”

More than 300 PSE utility workers – 150 electric and 150 natural gas responders – are equipped and ready to be in position to address possible power outages and washouts exposing natural gas lines.

“As the remaining Pacific storm front reaches closer to land and we get a better idea of their precise route, in advance of the storm, we may move additional crews into areas that appear likely to be directly affected,” McLain added.

In the event of damage to the utility’s electric system, PSE urges customers to stay away from downed power lines. If anyone encounters a downed power line, stay well away from the line or anything it may be touching. Immediately report the location of fallen wires to PSE by calling 1-888-225-5773, or call 911.

PSE also reminds customers to stay out of flooded basements because energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard.

If flooding causes water levels to cover the natural gas meter, call PSE to check the meter and regulator before using natural gas appliances. Flood waters could cause stresses to the gas piping. Customers also should call the utility if they smell natural gas.

Here are some additional tips:

• Create an outage kit equipped with a three-day supply of bottled water and non-perishable food; can opener; flashlights, extra batteries, a battery-powered radio to keep track of storm developments and PSE’s progress in restoring power. PSE will issue regular reports to local TV, radio and newspapers.

• Do not use charcoal or a gas grill to cook indoors. Both can cause a buildup of poisonous carbon monoxide gas.

• Turn off lights and unplug all appliances and sensitive electronic equipment, such as computers, to prevent an overload on circuits when electric service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate when service returns.

About Puget Sound Energy

Washington state’s largest energy utility, with a 6,000-square-mile service area stretching across 11 counties, Puget Sound Energy serves more than 1 million electric customers and almost 750,000 natural gas customers, primarily in western Washington.

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