OPALCO Holding Strong in Winter Storm

When temperatures drop, our Co-op’s demand for power goes up as we all use our electric heat and stay 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 continually works to improve system reliability with regular maintenance, capital construction projects and 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 (doesn’t require electricity)

• Keep important phone numbers by the phone

• 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

• Make sure you have extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothes available

Remember: 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. Don’t forget to check on neighbors who may need help; our community strength is built on helping each other out.

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