November was a trying month for PUD crews and customers

A generator, if you live in a rural area and can afford one, will likely come in handy at some point in the winter.

  • By Wire Service
  • Friday, December 9, 2022 1:30am
  • Life

By Snohomish County PUD

So far this storm season, the wind, rain and snow has been exceptionally cruel to Snohomish County residents.

In early November, a ferocious windstorm out of the west toppled distressed trees and tore countless limbs out of trees. The storm resulted in damaged PUD equipment across the county, from Camano Island to Edmonds to Index and many points in between. More than 250,000 PUD customers lost power, some of them for nearly a week.

Later in the month, a snowstorm in the southern portion of the county took down trees and limbs and knocked out power to more than 75,000 customers. Crews responded despite the challenging conditions and restored power to nearly all customers 48 hours later.

It’s fair to say that PUD crews and storm support staff had a very busy November.

Because more than half of PUD infrastructure is above ground and overhead, it is susceptible to trees and limbs flying around during windstorms and heavy snow in snowstorms. All of it can bring down poles and wires and cause damage that takes days to fix. When there’s extensive damage in many areas — like the recent windstorm in early November — it can take a week.

One of the best ways to prepare for an extended outage is to purchase a generator. Not everyone needs a generator — most PUD customers only lose power for a few minutes or an hour when they lose power — but for those who do lose power for extended periods of time or live in rural areas away from city centers, a generator can be a great investment.

Not only can generators make life more comfortable during an outage, powering lights and heat, but they can also run freezers and refrigerators to help preserve food. People who depend on electronic life-sustaining medical equipment can also benefit from a generator as it acts as an invaluable backup power source during emergencies.

Customers should be careful whenever using a generator. Make sure that any extension cord used to plug directly into the generator is rated to handle the energy demand. Homeowners connecting to their home’s electric panel need to ensure that an electrician has installed a transfer switch to keep power from backfeeding onto the grid. Finally, running generators should be located at least five feet from any structure and never used inside.

In recent years, battery storage packs have also become quite popular in helping homeowners and businesses power through storms. These home backup systems use lithium-ion battery energy storage systems and can have appliances and electronics plugged directly into them or in some cases be connected to an electric panel. Some systems can run a home for multiple days without a recharge.

Not everyone can afford a generator or a large battery storage pack. That makes it especially important for those who depend on electricity for life-saving medical equipment, important appliances or work to make a back-up plan in case of an extended outage. Set up a contingency plan now with a friend or relative in case of an emergency or research local hotels to stay at.

For more information on generators, including an instruction video on how to run one, visit snopud.com/generators.

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