FOLLOWUP: Friday night’s mysterious power outage

As promised, we followed up with Seattle City Light about Friday night’s brief-but-widespread West Seattle power outage. That night, all they could tell us was that they’d traced it to the Delridge Substation – also blamed for two other brief-but-widespread outages last summer – but hadn’t found out what went wrong. Today we checked with SCL’s Scott Thomsen, who says the exact cause remains a mystery: “Crews patrolled the lines that night and went out again today during daylight. They did not find any problems. They believe that a branch from one of the wooded areas could have fallen into the lines and then fallen to the ground after creating a brief short circuit.” That short circuit could have been the source of the “boom” some reported hearing, Thomsen says: “That would have been the breakers opening. They then reclose automatically. If the problem has gone away, the breakers stay closed and service is restored. That’s what happens in what we refer to as a momentary outage.”

10 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Friday night's mysterious power outage"

  • sam-c November 26, 2018 (9:14 pm)

    So, based on the previous report, someone lost a monitor thanks to these outages and power surges.  At my office, it appears that we lost one of our battery back ups thanks to this outage. I wonder if the City of Seattle takes into consideration all the e-waste they create with their inferior systems.  they should underground the power.

    • Leo November 27, 2018 (9:06 am)

      Direct your complaints to the budget holders, the Seattle City Council. They have managed SCL’s budget since the late 1970’s. They decide what projects SCL can spend its revenues on and how they can fund non-SCL projects, such as renting office space instead of adding floors to the old SCL building or buying a building of its own. Either of those two options would have been less expensive for SCL, but the Mayor and council at the time wanted to buy the Seattle Muni Building. The list of this type of moving money is long, and SCL cannot fund the projects it wants or needs to address. 

  • Sam-c November 26, 2018 (9:23 pm)

    And as you criticize my comment, think about how many times a power outage has been attributed to a substation door, “slamming too hard.” Once is silly, 2 is ridiculous.

    • Rick November 27, 2018 (10:47 am)

      Slammed a door too hard once so the wife divorced me, which was OK as I was on my way out anyway.

  • dsa November 26, 2018 (9:37 pm)

    Sam-C I agree with you. SCL has issues that never used to exist.

    • Rick November 27, 2018 (10:44 am)

      That’s why they get paid the big buck$$$.

  • hightide November 26, 2018 (11:37 pm)

    Thanks Sam-c for the laughs. You packed quite a few whoppers in your comments. Well done.

  • Jon Wright November 27, 2018 (8:18 am)

    It’s easy to be critical of a utility when you have no idea what is involved in running it. Seattle’s unprecedented recent growth has put huge demands on City Light because they have to provide all the new service and have had to upgrade associated infrastructure to accommodate the demand.We are fortunate to be served by a municipal utility that provides great value vs. an investor-owned utility which has–surprise!–making money for their shareholders as their main objective.

  • dsa November 27, 2018 (11:33 am)

    What are you talking about “making money for their shareholders as their main objective”?

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