A TEAM of linemen from Eastsound repaired an underwater cable that failed in Cascade Lake on Sunday, May 15th. Power was quickly rerouted from the Olga substation to serve those affected by the outage, which last about two hours.

After surveying the situation on Sunday, the crew arrived Monday morning to tackle the problem. Steve Eyler (General Foreman), Dan Watters (Substation Technician), Roger Sandwith (Journeyman Lineman) and Matt Minnis (Apprentice) engineered a creative strategy to locate and repair the damaged cable. First, they located the end of the cable near the shore and dug a trench in the shallows to access it. Then they used the big digger truck to help pull the cable up near the shore, put cable guides on a floating dock section, and then towed the dock along the cable lay pulling the cable up to examine it until the fault was located. They were able to make repairs to the cable on the float, on the lake and restore power later that day.

OPALCO’s distribution system includes 1,146 miles of power lines (82% underground); 14 miles of that is covered by 15 submarine cables. A capital improvement project is underway to lay underground cable around the lake and eventually retire the submarine cable.

OPALCO is a member-owned cooperative electrical utility serving more than 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County. OPALCO provides electricity that is 95% greenhouse-gas free and is predominately generated by hydroelectric plants. OPALCO was founded in 1937 to bring electricity to rural islanders.