An increase in the number of storm and tree related outages in 2020 led to an increase in total power outages for the Grays Harbor PUD. PUD crews responded to 345 outages, impacting 59,068 customers for a total of 186,224 hours. Although all three totals represented an increase from 2019, the total hours and customers impacted fell well below the averages of the last five years.
The main cause of the increase were storm, wind and tree related outages, accounting for 69% of the outages in 2020. November proved to be one of the toughest months of the year, with three significant storm events accounting for 11,392 customers without power, or 19% of the yearly total.
“When you live on the coast of the Evergreen State, you need to take precautions for storms and falling trees and these numbers show just how important those investments are,” said PUD Commission President Russ Skolrood. “Outage totals would be significantly higher without the PUD’s vegetation management efforts, the strength of our system and the skills of the professionals who respond to these outages and get the power back on as safely and as quickly as they can.”
This year the PUD invested $1.2-million in tree trimming, tree removal and mowing the right of ways around power lines to keep them clear of low hanging trees, branches and undergrowth.
“We need to continue to focus on vegetation management and strengthening the PUD system,” said General Manager Schuyler Burkhart. “If you look at areas where the PUD has made a major investment in the past, you see that the number of outages have gone down. Our capital budget will continue to focus on areas of need and ensure that system improvements will increase the reliability of the services we provide to our customers.”