FOLLOWUP: Here’s what cut power to 10,000 West Seattle homes and businesses

One day after the power outage that initially affected just under 10,000 West Seattle homes and business, we asked Seattle City Light for more details on what went wrong and why a problem on one pole affected so many. The reply from SCL spokesperson Julie Moore:

Similar to the comment Maria left on the blog this morning, the cause was due to a “sleeve” failure. The sleeve holds together the two ends of spliced cable. In this case, the cable that failed was connected to one feeder, which served about half of the total customers impacted. The other half were impacted because that cable fell onto wires associated with a different feeder. Once making the scene safe, we were able to reduce the impact to 14 customers on one feeder and 455 on the other through switching. The rest of the customers were restored after we made necessary repairs.

As noted in our coverage last night, that last group of customers was out for about seven hours, while the rest got theirs back within about an hour and a half.

7 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Here's what cut power to 10,000 West Seattle homes and businesses"

  • bolo December 3, 2021 (5:19 pm)

    BIG Thanks to the repair crews. That’s not an easy job, wrangling those heavy high tension wires high up like that.

  • Kersti Muul December 4, 2021 (8:56 am)

    I figured it was rerouted (switching) as so many had their power restore fairly quickly. Replacing lines takes time.This involves pulling the switch you see on a small number of certain poles (it’s a giant handle with a lock connected to a long pole that closes, or opens the ‘switch’) and it changes the ‘direction’ from which your circuit gets its power. I was coming from white center and had no idea until I drove into the massive black hole. It was mesmerizing and I was happy for the birds. 

  • Pdiddy December 4, 2021 (11:00 am)

    I would like to see us start getting with the programs of the rest of the world and stop with power poles. These are rarely seen in Europe. I know that these tend to be much less vulnerable to trees etc not to mention the poles are an eye sore. 

    • Sputnik December 4, 2021 (1:43 pm)

      While you’re right that underground electrical infrastructure is less of an eyesore, it’s no less or more reliable in the end. As an IBEW Journeyman Wireman, I can assure you that you’re just trading possible issues with trees for troubles with water tables and rainfall causing your underground conduit (The pipes with the wire in them) to fill with water, which they always are, and the high voltage vaults (Where the pipes all intersect) to have confined space and flooding issues. The flooding just creates extra stress on the high voltage splices and then, failure over time.While I’d love to not have to see them myself anymore, we should just hope they keep on top of the infrastructure maintenance so things like this don’t happen often. 

    • David Christensen December 4, 2021 (7:41 pm)

      I never really noticed what an eyesore they were until my visiting in-laws from the UK commented on them. 

    • bolo December 4, 2021 (9:18 pm)

      I wonder how they were able to do those upgrades there. Do they pay more taxes there, or maybe higher electricity rates? Would that go over here?

      • Jort December 6, 2021 (12:19 pm)

        They have a few things: 1) higher density, making undergrounding more economically feasible and 2) less onerous road construction standards due to the fact that fewer people drive on their roads. This enables the city to design easier installation methods, as there isn’t as much of a need to make the installation reslient to the punishing abuse of multiple vehicles on a roadway. As you can imagine, these two factors are chief reasons why utilities will not be undergrounded in West Seattle. However, if underground power lines are the factor that pushes people to accept higher housing density and less reliance on automobiles, I’m happy to see it happen.

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