Weekend power outages caused by accidents
By Tara Nelson
A series of vehicle accidents last weekend resulted in three power outages and flickering lights for many Blaine residents, city officials said.
Blaine public works director Steve Banham said a vehicle collision with a telephone pole on Birch Bay-Lynden Road caused a brief power outage early Saturday morning that lasted 45 minutes and caused subsequent voltage regulation problems later throughout the day.
Banham said city crews were forced to shut down the electricity feed to the entire city around 5:30 p.m. later that day. Crews worked for nearly an hour to correct the problem and slowly bring back power.
A second vehicle-pole collision on Sunday morning involving an intoxicated driver caused a third power outage.
Banham said his department is working to create an automated phone warning system for the city’s largest industrial customers as well as emergency information line for residents during such events.
He added that the city, along with Puget Sound Energy, has planned a second substation for Birch Bay-Lynden Road that would create a second source of power that could provide electricity to Blaine during future outages.
The substation will supply power to Blaine residents as well as those in the larger Birch Bay growth area and is planned for construction in summer of 2009, Banham said.
“It will give us a little more reliability, whereas right now we rely on a single substation,” he said.
Currently, Blaine is one of only 17 municipalities in Washington State to buy power wholesale from Bonneville Power Administration through its electric utility.