PUD says that total outages and impacted customer hours “significantly” decreased in 2023

The Grays Harbor PUD issued a statement saying that significant decreases in nearly every recorded category, from total outages to impacted customer hours, were seen over the last year. 

In a report to the Board of Commissioners on Monday, staff showed that in 2023, the utility responded to 230 outage events and that total customers impacted ended the year at 50,293 – all significantly lower than 2022 results.

“I could not be more proud of the work our PUD team did to improve system reliability in 2023. A utility’s ability to keep the lights on is one of the most valuable statistics when it comes to serving our customers,” said General Manager Schuyler Burkhart.  “Today’s numbers paint a clear picture: our crews deliver outstanding service with safety and speed, while our system proves its resilience in the challenging environment of the Washington coast.”  

Alongside a decrease in the number of outages and impacted customers, is a drop in the number of hours customers were without power. 

In 2022, according to the PUD, thanks to a number of outage events that impacted larger areas and took longer to repair, total customer hours jumped to over 626,000.  

In 2023, that number plummeted to 193,991, 80% of which occurred during 17 large outage events.

“In 2022, we saw a jump in the number of ‘major outage events’ that impacted the PUD’s reliability numbers,” said Engineering Director Tyson Reeves.  “I think 2023 was a far more typical year for the PUD.  We had a number of storms in the fall and winter and few car versus pole accidents, but nothing more than we would expect.”

The PUD tells KXRO that in terms of the most impacted areas, the circuits serving the North Beach area suffered the most customer hours without power, while fallen trees and storms continued to be the main outage threat.

In all, they say that over 70% of the outages and 72% of the customer hours without power were storm or tree related, while failure of utility equipment resulted in just 72 outages, down from 76 in 2022. 

“Hats off to our crews for getting the lights back on so quickly and to the builders and designers of the system,” said PUD Board President Arie Callaghan.  “We’ve been putting our resources into strengthening our infrastructure and taking down trees that could cause problems.  This report shows us that those resources are paying off.”