Reminder: overnight power outage begins Thursday, 11 p.m.

All of San Juan County will experience a planned power outage Thursday, Sept. 15, beginning at 11 p.m. The power outage will end by 6 a.m., Friday, Sept. 16.

The outage will be conducted by the Bonneville Power Administration at its substation in Anacortes, which is the point of delivery for power to the San Juan Islands.

OPALCO crews will take advantage of of the outage to conduct required inspection and maintenance work on it electrical system.

This outage will impact all of San Juan County, as there is no alternate system through which to reroute power to the islands during maintenance work. Although redundancy exists in much of OPALCO’s distribution system (submarine cables and overhead/underground lines), BPA’s transmission is currently a single radial line into the substation that feeds OPALCO’s system.

“The cost to add a second transmission line would be prohibitive,” said OPALCO System Engineer Joel Mietzner. “And the cost of litigation to condemn residential property along the path of the transmission line in Anacortes makes it especially complex and expensive.”

Compliance with the National Electric Reliability Corporation is mandated for systems of 115kV and larger, but will likely (in the next two to three years) include smaller systems like OPALCO’s of 69kV. OPALCO keeps in compliance with NERC standards as a routine operations practice; which includes 24 switches on its system that tested regularly for maintenance.

OPALCO members are responsible for their own equipment and OPALCO encourages all members to install surge protection to safeguard electronic, computer and other sensitive equipment and appliances.

To prepare for the outage, OPALCO suggests keeping a flashlight handy overnight and turning off sensitive electronics and equipment at the surge protector, or unplug them completely.

In the morning, turn electronics and appliances back on slowly, one at a time. For more information on surge protection, or to learn how to prepare for an outage and what to do during an outage, go to

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