Thousands of PSE customers lose power during heat wave

A screenshot of Puget Sound Energy's outage map at around 3 p.m. on June 28. At the time, some 12,300 customers across Western Washington were without power.

Thousands of people in Western Washington lost power over the weekend as power demand spiked during a historic heat wave.

As of Monday afternoon (June 28), nearly 12,300 Puget Sound Energy customers were without power.

In South King County, Maple Valley had 6,513 customers without power. Federal Way had 15, Auburn had 43, Kent had 109, Covington had 8, and Enumclaw had 6, according to PSE data Monday afternoon.

A Puget Sound Energy spokesperson said that over the weekend, they had about seven times the volume of power outages as they would on a typical June day, as temperatures across the region soared 30 to 40 degrees above normal.

As of Monday afternoon, the spokesperson said they believe they have enough power to supply customers’ needs, either through their own energy generation or power they’ve been able to secure.

The power company is urging customers to help conserve energy. Several cooling stations have opened around the county.

As climate change increases the risk of heat waves, scientists are studying the potential for major electrical grid failures, or blackouts, that overlap with extreme heat. A New York Times article quoted a researcher who said that widespread blackouts during heat waves may be the deadliest climate-related event they could imagine.

Hotter, drier summers are expected to become more common in Puget Sound as climate change continues.

Drowning deaths are up during the pandemic. In 2020, drowning deaths doubled in King County. Last year, 33 people died in King County waters, with 70% of them occurring in open water.

A 33-year-old man, Parahat Akyshov, drowned earlier this month in Lake Washington after he jumped into the lake to try and assist his young son who fell off their motorboat on June 16. His body was recovered a day later.


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