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Beware of power outages and be prepared

Orcas Line Crew replaces breaker in the Eastsound Substation. Pictured (l-r): Roger Sandwith, Scott Otto (above), Dan Watters, Matt Minnis (above) and Joel Mietzner. - Contributed photo
Orcas Line Crew replaces breaker in the Eastsound Substation. Pictured (l-r): Roger Sandwith, Scott Otto (above), Dan Watters, Matt Minnis (above) and Joel Mietzner.
— image credit: Contributed photo

When temperatures drop, Orcas Power and Light Cooperative’s demand for power goes up as islanders use more electric heat, while staying indoors for longer periods. This increased demand was the cause of a brief outage on Orcas Island on Wednesday; the load caused a breaker to fail in the Eastsound substation. Crews responded immediately to replace the breaker and power was restored in less than two hours. Remarkably, this has been the only outage since the snow arrived on Saturday.

OPALCO performs regular maintenance, capital construction projects and uses  smart grid technology. However, members should be prepared for outages, particularly during the winter storm season.

To be prepared make sure you have flashlights handy, install surge protection on sensitive equipment and appliances, keep an old-style phone in the home, which doesn’t require electricity and keep important phone numbers by the phone. OPALCO also recommends that you assemble a box of outage supplies such as flashlights, batteries, matches, portable radio, water, non-perishable food items, playing cards and games—and any supplies essential to your particular household’s comfort and needs, and make sure you have extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothes.

Never approach or touch a downed power line; always assume it’s a live wire. In case of prolonged outages, OPALCO will coordinate with the county fire departments and Department of Emergency Management to set up warming stations and meals. If someone in your household requires power for medical equipment, be sure to have a backup system in place.

For info, on power outages in progress, use your smart phone visit www.opalco.com for the latest news, sign up to follow @OrcasPower for Twitter updates, or call 376-3500 for a recorded message.

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