SnoPUD prepares for potential power outages during storm season

With stormy weather forecast for the latter part of the week, Snohomish County PUD said it is prepared to respond quickly to power outages and minimize disruptions to its customers.

The PUD said it will be taking extra precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees and customers during the ongoing pandemic.

“Our employees have worked tirelessly to maintain reliability throughout the COVID pandemic,” said PUD CEO/GM John Haarlow. “We will continue to respond to outages in a timely manner that puts safety paramount during the upcoming storm season.”

The National Weather Service is calling for rain and windy conditions to impact Snohomish County and the Puget Sound region beginning the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 23, and continuing through Friday. The PUD will be monitoring weather conditions to ensure personnel are available to respond. Starting Wednesday, the PUD will assign crews to designated areas of the county for a faster response time to possible outages.

Because of extra safety precautions, storm restoration may take additional time. PUD line crews are practicing social distancing when able to in the field, wearing fire-resistant face coverings and sanitizing equipment and tools between each use.

“In normal times, our crews enjoy interacting with our customers while restoring power,” said Senior Manager Regional Design & Construction Services Aaron Janisko. “But during the pandemic we are asking customers to respect our crews’ safety and keep their distance while they work.”

With more customers working from home during the pandemic, it’s important to remember to be prepared for potential outages. Customers should make sure to have a supply of non-perishable food and water available, and flashlights and a radio with charged batteries ready. Customers can visit www.snopud.com/winterprep to learn what to put in an easily assembled emergency kit that will help them get through an extended outage. Also, make sure cell phones are charged and bookmark the PUD’s Outage Map at www.snopud.com/outagemap.

To ensure an uninterrupted power supply, customers should consider purchasing a portable generator. If using a transfer switch to power hard-wired systems, the generator should be installed by a licensed electrician to make sure the generator does not back feed to the PUD’s system. Portable generators should never be used inside the home or garage.

Customers and first responders are advised to stay away from any fallen power lines, including lines that are sagging or broken. The safe thing to do is assume that all power lines are live and can injure or kill if a person comes in contact with them. Any fallen or damaged power line should be reported to the PUD at 425-783-1001. If it’s a life-threatening situation or medical emergency, call 911.

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