Scammers are still at work out there, trying to steal your money by making you think you are at risk of utility cutoff. We’ve reported this before (including earlier this fall) and today Seattle City Light is out with another alert:
As temperatures continue to drop and the importance of keeping your home warm rises, scammers are taking full advantage of the situation by targeting utility customers; threatening to shut off power unless payment is made to a fraudulent bill collector.
Seattle City Light is receiving 25 to 30 reports per week from customers targeted by such scams, often some of Seattle’s most vulnerable residents. Scammers commonly target non-English speaking individuals, elderly, and small business owners.
(TOPLINE: Power restored after a little more than one hour; ‘cable failure’ blamed)
11:01 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s been calling and texting – as of a few minutes ago, more than 4,100 homes/businesses have lost power in north West Seattle. Don’t know why yet. More to come.
11:08 PM: Just added screengrab from City Light map showing where the power’s out. Commenters and texters report something that resembles a possible transformer explosion preceding the loss of power.
@westseattleblog we live next to Delridge substation, heard what sounded like two explosion with bright flashes.
— Lindsey Hurd (@lindseyhurd) December 14, 2014
City Light site guesstimates restoration by 2 am but remember – that’s just an estimate, could be sooner, could be later.
11:13 PM: Denny tweets that the apartment-rich zone along Avalon is affected:
@westseattleblog power out here on 35th & Avalon. Lots of cars not able to get into their parking garages. Hope no one's stuck in elevators
— Denny Lee (@DennyJLee) December 14, 2014
11:24 PM: In fact, the SFD 911 log indicates a couple “elevator rescue” calls, on Avalon and Alki.
11:29 PM: City Light just tweeted for the first time, but no information beyond what we’ve already gotten from the outage map – “early estimate” of restoration ~2 am, no cause verified yet, not even with all these reports of an explosion preceding it.
11:43 PM: From City Light’s site, “what to do in case of an outage.” We’d add from experience – unplug major appliances unless you have great surge protectors; last outage, a computer we didn’t unplug was damaged when the power surged back on. One other point while we await updates – while the outage affects more than 4,100 “customers,” it affects many more people; a “customer” is an account, a home, a business, sometimes an entire multi-unit building.
12:04 AM: Multiple reports that the power’s back on.
12:12 AM: The map now shows everybody back on – so if you’re not, please call City Light, 206-684-3000. The only indication of its cause appeared on the map in the past 20 minutes or so – “equipment failure.” We might not be able to get further details until Monday.
12:18 AM: Scratch that; we do have a little more information from SCL via social media: “Cause was underground cable failure leading from substation.”
ORIGINAL REPORT, 11:40 AM: With so much construction and utility work around town these days, the crew working outside Salon 08 on SW Genesee east of 42nd might not have drawn a double take this morning. But the reason for its presence was unusual – a hit-run driver crashed into the gas hookup out front and did a little damage to the bricks in the facade. It happened sometime before 4 am – that’s when the Seattle Fire Department was called out to investigate a possible gas leak; the tipster who sent us word of it said the driver would have been a “silver hatchback” that “fled the scene on 3 wheels.” The salon, however, is open for business as usual.
ADDED 6:30 PM: In comments, Rich says the suspected hit-run car ended up near his Lowman Beach-area home. We’ve also received a photo via text and e-mail showing what’s said to be the car in question:
Rich says police told him they knew whose car it was – we are checking to find out if a suspect was arrested.
10:53 AM: Another widespread power outage that’s mostly south of us – but it’s affecting the lights at a key intersection on the southeast edge of West Seattle, a texter just confirmed, saying the 4th/Roxbury/Olson lights are out (treat it as a stop-all-ways intersection until they’re back!). Here’s the City Light map showing the outage affecting areas of South Park, North Highline, south White Center, Top Hat, and Boulevard Park.
11:28 AM: Except for Boulevard Park and vicinity, the SCL map now shows most have their power back. (For the record, here’s a screengrab showing the full area that WAS affected.)
9:05 PM: One spot of easternmost West Seattle is part of a big power outage that otherwise is mostly southeast of West Seattle. The City Light map shows more than 3,400 homes/businesses out in eastern White Center, Top Hat, and parts of Burien. No word yet on the cause or estimated restoration.
9:31 PM: The outage map has updated and the WC/TH section has apparently been fixed, leaving a section of Burien still out.
10:18 PM: City Light says a tree is to blame and those still without power might not get it back until 4:30 am or so.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:53 AM SUNDAY: Just before 9 pm, Kevin tweeted about that water break on 52nd SW just south of Charlestown. We checked it out (and recorded that quick clip of water bubbling up through the street) just before 1 am – and Seattle Public Utilities hadn’t been there yet. Another neighbor, Andrew, who also had tweeted about it, told us neighbors were moving their cars in hopes of avoiding the inevitable ice – the temperature’s already at the freezing mark and expected to drop into the 20s before sunrise. This is just before the Charlestown Hill drop toward Alki. We’ll check back after sunrise.
9 AM UPDATE: Still going at dawn, per yet another neighbor.
11:08 AM UPDATE: Jeffro mentioned another water break in comments. We found it at 53rd/Dakota – similar situation, water bubbling up from the street, so we Instagrammed it:
SPU had been there and also to 52nd/Charlestown, where we stopped again, painted some notes on the street, and, according to 52nd SW neighbors, said they’d be back:
3:28 PM: Tweeted update from the neighborhood:
— kevin ziemer (@kevzum) November 16, 2014
(SCL OUTAGE MAP: MOBILE VERSION HERE. OUTAGE HOTLINE: 206-684-7400)
2:17 PM: Several reports that the electricity is out in multiple parts of West Seattle. This might be linked to what’s reported as an “electrical fire/explosion” near the Delridge Library. So far, we have reports from The Junction, Admiral, near Camp Long. (Here on the Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood line, so far, we just had a flicker, power’s still on.) Let us know if it’s out where you are.
2:22 PM: Thanks to everyone who’s texting/commenting/Tweeting etc. about their power status. Some traffic signals are out – and please remember, that means when you approach one, it’s a four-way stop. Meantime, we’re headed off to check out the reported electrical fire that might be part of it. We’ve also just heard that Schmitz Park Elementary is without power. (added) Madison Middle School reported to be out too. (added) Lafayette is reported out as well.
2:25 PM: City Light says at least 4,250 homes/businesses/etc. are without power. IF your power is out – IMPORTANT ADVICE: Unplug what you can. After being out of power for 16 hours last weekend, several things around our house were damaged by the surge when it came back on. Some who didn’t lose power are reporting their cable/Internet *did* go out.
2:34 PM: See comments – some businesses are affected, too. If you haven’t already seen it on the City Light outage map, we’ve added a screengrab above showing the areas affected. Note that there are often gaps in the map – if you’re not shown, be sure they know you’re out, 206-684-7400. No estimated restoration time yet (and remember, those are ALWAYS just “guesstimates”); our crew is near the reported electrical-fire scene, trying to track down SCL.
2:44 PM: From the scanner – even police are being told they have no ETA for repairs yet, so they’re trying to figure out if they can get any help at intersections. AGAIN – if no power, it’s a four-way stop.
2:52 PM: We found a City Light truck taking a look at a transformer west of Greg Davis Park. Meantime, from SCL via Twitter:
Crews set a 6 pm initial estimate for restoration of service in West Seattle. Estimate likely to change as they learn more about the damage.
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) October 30, 2014
Also via Twitter, Seattle Public Schools confirms the three schools we’ve mentioned as being affected are the only three:
West Seattle Power Outage at these schools: Madison, Schmitz Park, Lafayette
— Seattle Schools (@seapubschools) October 30, 2014
3:12 PM: No updates on the repairs but the cause is now listed as “equipment failure.” Remember that unlike last weekend’s outage, this one is affecting many businesses – in comments, Junction True Value says it’s letting customers in one at a time, cash only, since somebody might *really* need something. Also in The Junction:
Police are helping with traffic where they can. (That’s Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores in The Junction.)
3:17 PM: Back on!
Power has been restored in West Seattle. Crews were able to isolate a faulty piece of equipment and route around the problem.
— Seattle City Light (@SEACityLight) October 30, 2014
The schools that were out confirm they’re back on – they’d been getting calls from worried parents. If you are NOT back on, please make sure you call City Light; the outage hotline is 206-684-7400.
(WSB photo from Monday morning as SDOT arrived to block off the sinkhole site)
Following up on the sinkhole first reported here Monday morning, on 45th SW between Alaska and Edmunds west of The Junction: Seattle Public Utilities confirms a broken sewer line is to blame, and says repair work is under way, likely to continue a few days. Here’s the notice they’re distributing in the neighborhood today:
Neighbors pointed out that the area had been patched before, but suddenly yesterday morning, it turned into what the city calls a “void.”
On the second morning after Saturday night’s windstorm, some scattered outages persist. Seattle City Light‘s map shows 379 homes/businesses still without electricity around its service area. And while other types of utilities don’t have comparable maps that we know of, we know of at least one other outage – because we’re part of it; CenturyLink isn’t working yet in our area (a few blocks east of south Lincoln Park) and told us (inquiring as customers) that “repairs are under way.” Anyone else?
5:09 PM: Are you still without power? Seattle City Light says in an update for media around its service area that it’s “restored power to all but 803 customers who lost power during (the) windstorm. The customers who remain without power are likely connected to smaller side lines. These lines involve fewer buildings and are often the hardest to repair. We estimate that crews will restore these connections late tonight or early into Monday morning. If your home is not connected, please call 206-684-3000 so that we can restore power.” At the peak of the outages, more than 52,000 homes/businesses in City Light’s service area were reported without electricity; an exact West Seattle count was pretty much impossible because of how the SCL map displays outages, but, starting with the 120-home outage along Beach Drive reported before 8 pm, we calculated more than 10,000 in WS were among those who lost electricity at one point or another.
7:50 PM: Commenters checking in from Gatewood say they’ve been without power going on 24 hours now. The official map shows multiple spots still out around West Seattle as part of the 600 homes/businesses still out service-area-wide. Most outages are blamed on trees hitting wires.
10:43 PM: Updates from comments – Seola is back, Glenridge/Gatewood still out. It’s not on the map, either. A new outage is – not in our area, and not related to the storm, SCL says – more than 3,000 customers in Tukwila/Boulevard Park.
11:50 PM: Thanks for the continued updates in comments. Glenridge/Gatewood is back on, but now there’s a new outage reported, west of Westwood Village. Not on the map so no idea of the extent, but if you’re affected, be sure to call City Light- outage hotline 206-684-7400 – even if you think someone else has reported it.
(Click map to see it full-size)
More Seattle City Light modernization work is on the way between The Junction and Morgan Junction. If this affects you, SCL says, you should have received a flyer. In case you didn’t – or otherwise missed it – we’re sharing the news too:
Seattle City Light is continuing to make electrical improvements in portions of West Seattle by increasing capacity from 4 kV to 26kV. The attached flyer was mailed recently and explained the details to affected customers. …
· What is the work? Conversion of service from 4 to 26kV will improve the electrical capacity in a neighborhood north of Morgan Junction. This modernization has been ongoing in different portions of West Seattle since 2008. The work involves replacing old poles with new ones and adding new cross arms, insulators, transformers and wires.
· What is the schedule? Beginning of November for approximately two months. See flyer for details.
· What are the impacts? Affected customers will experience a maximum of three outages during this work. Crews will place a door hanger or make personal contact 48-72 hours in advance of outages. The notification will specify the date, time and duration of the outage.
· Point of Contact? Michael Gabrielson, Electrical Service Representative, at 206-386-4245 or firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit seattle.gov/light/aboutus/construction
This is separate from the other West Seattle work that City Light announced earlier this month, cable maintenance via silicon injection in Fauntlee Hills and Sunrise Heights.
Also tonight, a two-part update from King County Wastewater Treatment District on West Seattle’s own “pit,” the 60-foot-deep hole being excavated for the million-gallon combined-sewer-overflow tank across from Lowman Beach.
First, KCWTD’s Doug Marsano says excavation crews will NOT be working this Saturday after all; one more Saturday of excavation work is still expected, November 1st. But the following Monday, this will happen:
King County contractors will use the east part of the 7000 block of Beach Drive SW (between Lowman Beach Park and the project site) to assemble a crane that will be used to finish digging out the Murray CSO Control Facility tank area. The crane will be delivered and assembled on Monday, October 27 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Neighbors and park users should expect traffic delays of up to 15 minutes on the 7000 block of Beach Drive during these hours.
To maintain local access, there will be no parking on Beach Drive S.W. between the project site and Lowman Beach Park from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flaggers will work with drivers to ensure safe passage around the assembly area.
Further details are in the official project notice here.
Whole lot of digging going on around the city these days. Two new views:
TUNNEL-MACHINE RESCUE: WSDOT says digging has officially begun for the pit they’ll use to pull up the Highway 99 tunnel machine’s cutting head for repairs – the photo is a screengrab from one of their live construction cameras. Tons of info in this update. The pit will be 120 feet deep, which is twice as big as the West Seattle pit we’re updating next:
OVERFLOW TANK PIT, HALFWAY THERE: Last Wednesday night, in our coverage of the Morgan Community Association‘s quarterly meeting, we reported the county’s update on the excavation by Lowman Beach: They’re halfway to what’s expected to be a 60-foot-deep pit for the million-gallon Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project storage tank. (It’s known as Murray after the nearby street, which also is namesake for the pump station beneath the southeast side of Lowman Beach Park.) So we went over for a look (map). We’re also checking on whether the delayed start of the extra digging sessions on Saturdays means a delayed end date.
ADDED 3:28 PM: According to county Wastewater Treatment Division spokesperson Doug Marsano, “Crews are making good progress – they’re over 40 feet down now (about 2/3rds of the way) – but the rains forecasted for this week could hinder their progress. Currently, the project team expects to work 2 more Saturdays, extending into early November.”
Thanks to community advocate Tracy Dart for sharing the word that another local business (not hers) has been targeted by the bogus “City Light” telephone-call scam. We’ve reported on versions of this scam at least four times in the past year, most recently here. Bottom line, whether you’re a business or a residence, if you get a phone call from someone claiming you’re facing imminent disconnection, DON’T FALL FOR IT – if you aren’t sure of your billing status, hang up and call the utility directly yourself to check. (And call the police!)
Just got a call from someone wondering – understandably, in light of the overnight weather – if the power’s out in part of Fauntlee Hills right now because of the scheduled maintenance announced last week, or something else. According to the SCL outage map, it’s the start of planned work, and the power will be out for those 50+ homes until early evening.
(Murray CSO storage-tank-site excavation, photographed Monday by Richard)
An alert for Lowman Beach-area residents: The contractor for King County’s Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project plans four hours of late-night work tomorrow night. The county sent the notification this afternoon; the work involves pipe inspections that have to be done under certain tidal and pipe-use conditions, and those conditions happen 11 pm Friday night until about 3 am Saturday. Workers will be inspecting pipes beneath two manholes, one on the south side of Lowman Beach Park, one alongside the CSO project site on Lincoln Park Way. A map is part of the notification document you can see here (PDF). The county says neighbors are being notified, and reminds anyone with questions/concerns that they can call the 24-hour project hotline at 206-205-9186.
Also, a reminder: This Saturday is also scheduled to be the first of several Saturdays with extra excavation work, as previously announced.
Seattle City Light says it’s planning underground-cable work in two West Seattle neighborhoods, and that work will come with scheduled outages. These are the maps accompanying the announcement – first, sections of 20th and Webster:
Click either image to see the full flyer with both maps. Here’s the SCL overview of the planned work:
Seattle City Light plans to increase reliability in five sections of its service
territory by injecting aging underground electrical cable with silicone.
* Work: Seattle City Light’s contractor first tests and, if electric cable is suitable, injects it with silicone. The silicone fills cracks in the cable’s insulation and extends its life by approximately 20 years.
* Impacts and timeline: Up to three power outages per customer are required to do the work safely. Customer notification will happen on the Thursday before the next week’s outage. The start date is the week of October 13. All five neighborhoods are expected to be completed within eight weeks.
* Further information: The point of contact for customers, Website, and additional details are cited in each flyer.
(The “five sections” reference includes four areas outside West Seattle.)
(UPDATE: The county announced Friday that this won’t start until October 11)
(WSB photo looking into excavation site from Lincoln Park Way, taken today)
If you live near Lowman Beach, and/or along the routes that are being used by trucks to haul away dirt from the excavation for a million-gallon sewer-overflow tank, here’s an alert: Starting this Saturday, crews will be working on Saturday as well as weekdays, at least for this month. Here’s the announcement:
To keep the project on schedule and avoid digging during heavy rains, King County’s contractor will work Saturdays in October. Saturday work will begin at 9 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. The County contractor expects to finish digging out the tank area by early November, before the largest winter storms usually arrive. Digging during storms takes longer and increases the chance of mud from the site getting on to streets and storm drains.
What to expect on Saturdays:
Thanks to Melissa for the tip: About 100 Delridge-area residences are without water while Seattle Public Utilities crews work on an 8-inch-pipe break. While the trucks we photographed are right by the Boren Building, home to two schools, SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB that the building DOES have water. She adds that “the water has been throttled down. … Once the pipe is exposed, we’ll have a better idea about how long the repair will take. If it is a horizontal break, it could take all day (until 5 pm) to fix.” We’ll update this report when that information’s available.
2:32 PM: Update from Goodwin: “Water is back on for all customers and crews should have things wrapped up and be out of the street by 4 pm today. The cause of the break will be investigated by SPU.”
Update: West Seattle power outage for 4,300 homes/businesses, after trash truck mishap in Arbor HeightsSeptember 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 230 Comments
(SCROLL DOWN for newest information plus added photos)
(Outage’s cause – truck vs. wires; photo from Jennifer)
FIRST REPORT, 4:20 PM: Jim says power’s out at 37th and 98th. 911 log says “wires down” at 39th/104th. The Seattle City Light outage map is, well, out. If you’ve lost power too, let us know, so we can get an idea of the extent. Also some out in Gatewood – we’ve heard from 41st/Holly.
4:28 PM: As you can see from comments, several southwest-end neighborhoods are out. We’re en route to check out the “wires down” location, and attempting to get information from SCL, since as noted above, the “outage map” itself is out of commission.
4:34 PM: Amanda, in comments, says it appears the “wires down” call at 39th/104th is a trash truck vs. pole crash. We’re adding a photo from Wendy (above).
4:42 PM: Also, if you’re seeing/hearing a helicopter, it’s just TV. Traffic note: Lights out because of this include 35th/Roxbury, per our crew:
(WSB photo: No power at 35th/Roxbury light)
No official City Light word yet and no news on how long it’ll take to fix this.
4:46 PM: Update – City Light says 4,300 homes and businesses are without power. 90 percent of customers will be back on within an hour – some others might take up to seven hours.
6:01 PM: Thanks to everyone reporting their power is back! Anyone NOT back?
7:23 PM: Some in Arbor Heights are still out, per comments, and now the SCL outage map is back, and that’s where it shows about 300 customers still out:
8:24 PM: More power restored! Thank you for the updates. SCL map now shows only a handful left without electricity. If that includes you, please call and make sure they know you are still out.
ADDED 9:36 PM: Jeff B shared photos with a closer look at what happened:
Engine 37 answered the “wires down” call shortly after it happened:
Don’t look at it as a ban on throwing away your food scraps, suggested City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw before this afternoon’s vote – look at it as expanded recycling. And with that, she and the rest of the City Council voted to require recycling of food scraps and compostable paper, starting next year. The enforcement teeth won’t be very sharp – $1 fines, and only after a “massive” informational campaign – but the city believes this is what’s needed to jolt the “stalled” shrinkage of Seattleites’ recycling rate. (Also, as noted on the city website, “Food waste is one third of the residential garbage in Seattle … and is transported by train 300 miles to an Oregon landfill.”) Details of how it would be enforced are in this slide deck from a briefing earlier this month.
6:32 PM: More than 50 homes/businesses in pockets along Roxbury, between 35th and 20th, are without power, but Seattle City Light crews tell us it shouldn’t last much longer. It’s affecting signals, though, including 30th/Roxbury, so be careful and treat any nonworking signal intersection as a four-way stop. The cause is listed as “equipment failure,” apparently in a vault.
7 PM: The map suggests the easternmost pockets have been restored.
Three months after we first reported on seismic-safety retrofit work needed inside some city reservoirs, it’s about to start at West Seattle Reservoir in Highland Park. Neighbors will receive, if they haven’t already, notices from Seattle Public Utilities, which tells WSB that work will start by the end of September and run through March. Here’s the notice:
(If you can’t see the embedded version, here’s the PDF version.) SPU says project signs will go up in the park before work begins. Our June story, linked in the first sentence of this one, details the full backstory, including the expectation that work will be needed at West Seattle’s other underground reservoir, Myrtle, and will probably start there before the end of next year.
(2010 WSB photo)
In addition to the meetings and events highlighted earlier in our West Seattle Tuesday preview, we just got word of this from Mike (thank you!) – relating to the area in the photo above, from WSB storm coverage in December 2010:
Learn about drainage in your neighborhood.
Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 6 PM
Meet at corner of 30th Ave SW and SW 104th, on west side of Seola Pond.
Seattle Public Utilities has made commitments to improve drainage in the Arbor Heights area near Seola Pond.
Debbie Harris is project manager: email@example.com
The City Council is considering a change to the recycling rules – instead of just enabling food-waste recycling, they’re looking at requiring it. The next discussion of this proposal is on the agenda for the Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee meeting this afternoon at City Hall at 2 pm (here’s the agenda). The slide-deck presentation accompanying the agenda item (see it here or above) says the city will take too long to get to its recycling goal of 60 percent of all waste, without a requirement like this, because food waste and compostable (but not otherwise recyclable) paper are “the largest component of readily divertible material” in what both residences and businesses throw away. If the proposal is finalized by the council, the new rules would start next year, with warnings at first, and then in July, a residential violation would cost you $1, a dumpster violation $50 after 2 warnings.
That quick video clip’s all about something Puget Sound Energy is sending out to more than a million customers via postal mail (in this case, e-mail just wouldn’t work), as explained in this announcement:
Billing statements from Puget Sound Energy arriving in mailboxes over the coming weeks might smell a little rotten.
A newly designed natural gas safety brochure is being sent out to more than 1.1 million PSE customers throughout September. In addition to lots of important information about what to do if there’s a suspected gas leak, there’s a scratch-and-sniff section that’s a reminder of the rotten egg odor associated with natural gas.
To help detect gas leaks more easily, PSE and other natural gas utilities add an odorant called mercaptan to the natural gas, which is naturally odorless and colorless. Everyone in a family needs to recognize the stench, and know what to do if they smell it:
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