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Barb Graff, Director

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Hazards
Flood
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Winter Storm
Bomb Threat
Household Fire
Pandemic
Power Outages
Radiation
Terrorism
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Wind Storms


Power Outages

While Seattle has never experienced a major regional outage like the 2003 East Coast Blackout, it is important for us to recognize that Seattle could suffer a regional outage. The potential damage is mitigated by the fact that Seattle owns its own generation and distribution system that is more robust that the regional Bonneville Power (BPA) Infrastructure. Were BPA to go out, City Light could isolate the City and protect our network. This strategy is more feasible in the summer when Seattle supplies power to other areas than in the winter when we need to draw it from BPA to meet increased demand.

Major Incidents

Year

Event

Impacts

2006

Windstorm Outage

A record 175,000 customers without power. It took a week to restore all customers.

1993

Vault Fire

An underground electrical vault fire blackout much of the Belltown neighborhood.

1988

Vault fire

An underground electrical vault fire blackout much of downtown.

Issues to Note

Power outages usually occur as secondary incidents to other events like electrical vault fires and windstorms. Power lines are underground in the downtown core and other dense areas. They are more vulnerable to vault fires but extremely resistant to wind damage. In the rest of the city the situation is reversed. Wind damage is linked the number of trees close to wires.

On the Web

How to Prepare for Power Outages (PDF) - Information from the City of Seattle, King County and Washington State.

When the Power goes out - Information from Seattle City Light.

Challenge for the Northwest (PDF) - This publication from the Bonneville Power Administration discusses the challenges of operating an aging transmission system in a time of increasing load.

U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force - Final Report on the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada.


During an emergency, go to www.seattle.gov for the latest information.


Emergency:
Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police:
206-625-5011
Non-Emergency Fire:
206-386-1400


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