Ever see a flash or hear a loud explosion and then your power goes out? You’ve probably wondered what happened. These days people take to social media and start speculating as to the cause of an outage, and checking to see who else has lost power. While we understand the desire to share your experience and find out more about what happened, here are a few tips to help you understand our outage process and get the most accurate information in the timeliest manner:
1. First, check your breakers and if they’re ok – report the outage! Call 360-452-9771 or 800-542-7859. You can also use the SmartHub app to report an outage, which is especially useful if it is a significant outage and all of our incoming phone lines are in use. (Note: please make sure the phone numbers that we have on file for you are up to date, especially if you’ve recently removed a landline.)
2. Once you’ve reported it, check www.clallampud.net right on the homepage for outage updates. It may take a few minutes for an initial post to show up as the first calls come in and crews are dispatched.
3. As the outage progresses, continue to check the website for updates, which will be posted as more information is learned. If there is a single outage the PUD can usually make a relatively quick assessment and provide an estimated time of restoration, but during major storms there may be dozens of outage events over a short period of time, significantly more than the available resources to respond to and make an assessment or provide a time of restoration estimate. If you do not have internet access, tune in to your local radio station for updates:
Sequim KSQM 91.5 FM
Port Angeles KONP 1450 AM
Forks 1490 AM
4. If the outage is occurring outside of regular business hours, a third-party answering service is taking the calls, except in the case of a significant outage where we turn on the automated phone system. While they are trying to be helpful, the answering service is not trained to be able to provide you with information as to the cause of the outage. A case in point, many on social media state that “a transformer blew.” This is very rarely the occasion. An explosive sound likely indicates a fuse has been tripped, which is doing exactly what it should be doing to protect the system, much like what your breakers do at home if there is a fault in the system. A visible flash could also be a fuse, or it could be a tree or branch in the line. There are a variety of reasons why an outage occurs. Your best source of information, again, will be the PUD website.
5. Our crews will be responding to the parts of the system that restore power to the largest numbers of customers first, then working their way down to the more isolated outages.
6. During storms it is not uncommon to experience several points of damage between some customers and the electric source. When a transmission or substation outage is restored there may still be associated distribution line damages that prevents power being restored to all customers. When distribution lines are restored individual transformers or service lines may still be off. If you are part of an outage and neighbors are restored but you are still out, check or operate your service panel breaker(s) in the event they tripped during the outage event. If you are still without power contact the PUD and report your neighbors were restored but you were not.
7. Lastly, the best thing you can do is to be prepared before the event of an outage! Visit our main outages page for information and resources to outage safety and preparation.