Storm and tree related outages increase in 2020; according to PUD

The Grays Harbor PUD says that storm and tree related power outages increased in 2020, according to their figures.

In a release, the PUD tells KXRO that in 2020, there was an increase in total power outages as PUD crews responded to 345 outages, impacting 59,068 customers for a total of 186,224 hours.  

They say that although all three of those totals represented an increase from 2019, the total hours and customers impacted fell well below the averages of the last five years. 

The release states that the main cause of the increase were storm, wind and tree related outages, accounting for 69% of the outages in 2020, with November one of the toughest months of the year, bringing three significant storm events accounting for 11,392 customers without power, or 19% of the yearly total.

“When you live on the coast of the Evergreen State, you need to take precautions for storms and falling trees and these numbers show just how important those investments are,” said PUD Commission President Russ Skolrood.  “Outage totals would be significantly higher without the PUD’s vegetation management efforts, the strength of our system and the skills of the professionals who respond to these outages and get the power back on as safely and as quickly as they can.”

This year the PUD says that they invested $1.2-million in tree trimming, tree removal and mowing the right of ways around power lines to keep them clear of low hanging trees, branches and undergrowth.

“We need to continue to focus on vegetation management and strengthening the PUD system,” said General Manager Schuyler Burkhart.  “If you look at areas where the PUD has made a major investment in the past, you see that the number of outages have gone down.  Our capital budget will continue to focus on areas of need and ensure that system improvements will increase the reliability of the services we provide to our customers.”