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West Seattle power outage: Upper Alki

(Photo added: Sent by Mark)

12:04 PM: We’re getting multiple reports of a power outage in Upper Alki, though so far the Seattle City Light map only shows one customer out. Be sure to call SCL if you’re affected (206-684-3000) – and then let us know!

1:11 PM: Though the outage map still shows only one customer, the outage hotline for those affected says 133, per a commenter.

2:36 PM: Power restored, per e-mail from a resident in the outage zone. SCL apologized, meantime, for the map inaccuracy, saying “a server upgrade” was at fault.

UPDATE: Water break fixed in West Seattle Junction

2:14 PM: Thanks to Dave for the tip – we confirmed with the Seattle Public Utilities crew on the southeast corner of California and Edmunds that they’re fixing a water break. Some traffic effects at that 5-way intersection as a result.

3:54 PM: Elaine Yeung of SPU replied to our inquiry seeking more info, saying the break was “caused by a tree root. Crews have now finished working on the pipe, placed temporary paving, and opened the street back to traffic.”

Brown water in South Alki

Susan reports brown water at 59th/Spokane. She’s wondering if the work crew on 59th south of Admiral is related and if others are affected. If you ever notice discolored water, be sure to notify Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800.

FOLLOWUP: The two recent Friday night West Seattle power outages might have been connected, City Light says

Friday night, you might recall, 3,000+ homes and businesses were without power in West Seattle – and many more lost it briefly – because of a problem at the Delridge Substation. It was the second consecutive Friday night with a problem there, though the previous week’s outage was only “momentary.” As promised, we asked Seattle City Light today if they’ve found out anything more. SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen says the two might have been connected:

Friday’s outage was caused by an underground cable failure.

The previous outage in that area was likely caused by a branch falling into and then off of overhead powerlines in a wooded area nearby. Our crews patrolled the area immediately and a second time during daylight, but could not find evidence of what might have triggered it.

The area of overhead lines where that first problem occurred and the underground cable in Friday’s outage are connected. While we can’t make a conclusive connection between the two events, when faults happen in the overhead system like that, it will put additional stress on connected underground cables, shortening their lifespans.

The Delridge Substation (near the dead end of SW Juneau, west of 26th) also factored into two outages in less than a week last summer – July 31st and August 6th.

UPDATE: Power problems in West Seattle; 3,000+ customers out for an hour and a half

9:04 PM: For some it flickered – others are out. Nothing on the SCL map yet. More info to come…

9:12 PM: Now on the outage map: 3,000+ homes/businesses.

9:22 PM: Unofficial suspicions point to the Delridge Substation, source of several problems this year and one just a week ago. There’s a ‘wires down’ call near there.

9:32 PM: Our photographer went to 26th/Juneau to check on that “wires down” report. So far no wires found down, per emergency crews. City Light says on Twitter that they think a “cable” is to blame and that power should be back “soon.” If you have to drive, note that some lights are out – that means it’s a four-way stop.

9:59 PM: SCL has updated the cause to “equipment failure.” Though the current “restoration estimate” is just before midnight, keep in mind that those are just guesses and it could be sooner … or later. Please let us know (comment, or text 206-293-6302) when you’re back on – our HQ only had flickers so we won’t know when the outage ends otherwise, and the SCL map has something of a lag … thank you. Meantime, some backstory – that widespread “momentary” outage last Friday night, also traced to the Delridge Substation, was also around 9 pm. We followed up with City Light on Monday and they thought it might have been a branch hitting a line, but they weren’t sure; they did explain that a “boom” heard that night was the sound of “breakers opening.” (As you can see in comments, many reported hearing “booms” again tonight.)

10:35 PM: Thanks for the texts! Sounds like at least some have power back.

10:49 PM: The SCL map has now updated to show all but a handful of customers are back on.

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.”

UPDATE: Seattle City Light says Delridge Substation the source of ‘momentary’ – but widespread – West Seattle outage

9:18 PM: From High Point to Delridge to Fairmount Park, we’ve received multiple reports of a power flicker, and some said they heard a “boom.” Haven’t traced the source yet and haven’t heard from anyone experiencing an actual outage. Any other areas affected?

9:24 PM: Commenters indicate other areas were affected. And via other messaging channels, we’ve heard from as far west as Lowman Beach and as far south as Westwood.

9:33 PM: Commenter Aaron called in a report to Seattle City Light and says he was told it was a “blown breaker.” (You might recall two short outages in the span of a week last summer blamed on the Delridge Substation.)

10:44 PM: Just talked to Seattle City Light‘s on-call media person. While the outage was traced to the Delridge Substation, they haven’t yet figured out what caused it, but are continuing to investigate.

UPDATE: Water break in Westwood

11:03 PM: Hard to see on a rainy night, but that puddling on SW Trenton just west of 34th SW isn’t just from the rain. Water is bubbling up from the street because of a break. Thanks to the area residents who tipped us about this; one neighbor said a crew was out flagging gas lines in advance of the repair crew. They were gone before we got there; another neighbor said Seattle Public Utilities told them that work won’t start until morning.

1:10 PM: Work did start this morning and is continuing:

No word hoe much longer. SPU says 20 homes are affected.

POWER OUTAGE: West Seattle YMCA expects to reopen Thursday morning

4:41 PM: A power outage is forcing the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) to close its Triangle location for the rest of the day, says executive director Shalimar Gonzales: “Due to an intermittent power outage, we are closing our West Seattle location for the rest of the evening. Our Fauntleroy facility will remain open normal hours today.”

8:57 PM: Update – “Our current power outage is impacting 5 properties including our West Seattle location due to a faulty cable. Seattle City Light will be working overnight to replace the cable and restore power to the area. We anticipate re-opening the West Seattle facility at 8 am on Thursday, November 15th.”

West Seattle power outage: 12 customers in Highland Park

November 7, 2018 10:40 am
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 |   Highland Park | Utilities | West Seattle news

10:40 AM: Thanks to the person who tipped us about this. A small outage in Highland Park is now on the City Light map, which says 12 customers (in this area, we believe that’s all residences) are affected. No word yet on the cause.

11:57 AM: The cause is now listed as “bird/animal.”

Here are 4 West Seattle neighborhoods where City Light plans work soon

October 28, 2018 8:17 pm
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

You might notice extra utility-pole work – some installation of cabinets and antennas, some full replacements of poles – in the next month. Seattle City Light announced via its Power Lines website that it’s working with “contracted crews” to get this work done around the city, including these four areas of West Seattle (each item on the list links to a map of the work zone):

*Fauntleroy/Monroe (Lincoln Park area)
*California between Dawson and Brandon
*35th SW just south of the West Seattle Bridge

The City Light announcement indicates the contractor is Mobilitie, which has also worked with Sound Transit.

UPDATE: Power outage at Jefferson Square

October 27, 2018 12:23 am
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

12:23 AM: For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Jefferson Square area is without power. More than 100 customers, according to the City Light map.

2:41 AM: Though the time-stamp on the SCL map is outdated, we just visually confirmed that J-Square is still out of power. Totally dark except for some overhead lighting in Safeway. A City Light crew is busy on the outer southeast edge of the center.

UTILITIES: Discolored water in Belvidere

In case you’re experiencing it too – Denise reports, “We have white water coming out of the cold water tap in the 2900 block of 39th. I called the city line at 206.386.1800 and the operator said an inspector would call back, but hasn’t yet.” That’s the number to call if you have discolored water, even if you know somebody else has reported it already.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s what caused game-moving West Seattle Stadium outage

October 15, 2018 6:52 pm
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 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

You might recall our report last Friday about a power outage at West Seattle Stadium – forcing O’Dea, which plays home games there, to move its homecoming game to its opponent’s field at Rainier Beach HS. The outage was resolved at some point late Friday night/early Saturday morning, but with no announcement of the cause, so we followed up today with Seattle City Light. Spokesperson Scott Thomsen tells WSB that the stadium outage “was caused by the failure of a piece of underground equipment called an elbow. This is a connector for an underground cable and another piece of equipment that bends at an angle, like an elbow.”

Power problem at West Seattle Stadium means tonight’s O’Dea game has to move

4:24 PM: A power problem at West Seattle Stadium means the football game that was scheduled there tonight, O’Dea‘s homecoming vs. Rainier Beach, is moving. The 7 pm game instead will be played at RB’s field. City Light’s map shows only the stadium affected by this outage; we’re checking to see what happened.

5:31 PM: An SCL truck was in view at the stadium when we went by. Cause is still listed as “investigating.”

FOLLOWUP: Waste Management pickups resuming – with delays

Waste Management says it’s getting back to normal after temporarily halting pickups because of the natural-gas-supply concerns raised from this week’s pipeline rupture in Canada. Here’s the WM update for Seattle customers:

Good news! All Waste Management trucks will be back on the road Friday; Puget Sound Energy has cleared us to fuel our clean air trucks. If we missed you Thursday due to PSE’s gas line problem, check below for our recovery plan. These plans are established in consultation with the cities we service and as required by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

City of Seattle

Residential – Thursday customers will receive service Friday, Oct. 12. Friday customers will receive service Saturday, Oct. 13.

Commercial – Thursday evening customers will receive service as usual. All other Thursday customers will receive service Friday, Oct. 12 or Saturday, Oct. 13.

Earlier, we published Puget Sound Energy‘s update that it’s getting back to normal.

FOLLOWUP: Puget Sound Energy says it’s ‘beginning to return to normal operations’ post-BC pipeline problem

October 11, 2018 11:45 am
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Puget Sound Energy says it’s ‘beginning to return to normal operations’ post-BC pipeline problem
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Just in from Puget Sound Energy – our area’s natural-gas utility – an update following Wednesday’s call for conservation:

Thanks to a combination of efforts from our customers and partnering with other Northwest utilities, the natural-gas system has stabilized and Puget Sound Energy is beginning to return to normal operations following the rupture of the Enbridge natural gas pipeline Tuesday evening in British Columbia, Canada.

We are now reaching out to business customers who curtailed their usage to let them know that they may resume normal gas use. While our calls for conservation are over for both business and residential customers, saving energy is encouraged. Tips can be found here.

Efforts made by our residential and business customers were critical in helping to stabilize the system. Although PSE is returning to normal operations, we will continue to monitor the natural gas system as Enbridge works on their supply pipeline.

While the natural gas supply was impacted due to this incident, there is no damage to the PSE gas system or safety hazard to our customers from the pipeline failure in Canada. There was no loss of electric or natural gas service as a result of this incident.

The pipeline that ruptured was part of a twin-pipeline system, and its undamaged twin has received the go-ahead to restart.

No Waste Management solid-waste pickup in Seattle on Thursday because of BC’s broken gas pipeline

(Waste Management photo)

Another local effect of that natural-gas pipeline rupture near Prince George, B.C.: Waste Management‘s natural-gas-powered trucks are idled, so if you have Thursday solid-waste pickup from WM, the company says you won’t get it tomorrow. Here’s the news release WM sent tonight:

There will be no garbage, recycling or compostables collection service for most Waste Management customers in King and Snohomish counties on Thursday, Oct. 11, due to a natural gas pipeline rupture in British Columbia.

The pipeline rupture has interrupted the flow of natural gas for Puget Sound Energy, which delivers natural gas for Waste Management trucks. The duration of the suspension is unclear.

Areas that will not have Waste Management service on Thursday, Oct. 11, include Algona, Auburn, Federal Way, Kirkland, Mill Creek, Redmond, Seattle, Snoqualmie, and the unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish counties.

Services have not been interrupted in or around Marysville (including Arlington, Granite Falls or the unincorporated area), Skagit County or Kitsap County because Waste Management uses different fuel suppliers for trucks in these areas.

“Waste Management has deployed our top logistics experts to do everything possible to address the situation and activate contingency plans,” said Jackie Lang, public affairs manager for Waste Management. “Our teams are focused on one goal – minimizing disruption for our customers. The best resource of information, as updates are available, is the Waste Management website at wmnorthwest.com.”

Here’s the WM service-alert link. This morning, we reported on Puget Sound Energy‘s call for gas customers to conserve because of the pipeline problem; PSE is now asking for that conservation to continue Thursday.

Why Puget Sound Energy is asking you to use less natural gas today

If you have natural-gas service, it’s supplied by Puget Sound Energy, and they’ve sent customers a message asking for conservation today because of a pipeline rupture in Canada. If you haven’t already seen the message, you can read the full version on PSE’s website. (PSE also is asking its electricity customers to use less, but that doesn’t apply in our area as local electricity comes from Seattle City Light.) Here’s Canadian coverage of the pipeline rupture, which happened near Prince George, British Columbia [map] – and even more info here.

UTILITY ALERT: Possible brown water tonight

October 8, 2018 6:49 pm
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 |   High Point | Utilities | West Seattle news

From Seattle Public Utilities:

SPU crews are planning to do a hydrant flow test tonight near 6537 35th Ave SW, between 11 PM and 5 AM. The test is conducted at night to minimize impacts to customers. Crews will run water from a hydrant to test the volume coming out of the pipe to ensure there is adequate fire flow protection.

Any time there is a disturbance in the water main, discolored water can happen. Customers can visit our website for information about discolored water. If the problem persists, customers can call Seattle Public Utilities’ 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.

UPDATE: Water-main break by Constellation Park

5:09 PM: Thanks to Betsy for the photo and report: Beach Drive by Constellation Park south of Alki Point is blocked by a crew working on a water break. We don’t know yet how many customers are affected.

6:03 PM: Just went by to check (photo added). The Seattle Public Utilities crew tells us they haven’t yet reached the actual break, so this is going to take a while longer.

UPDATE: Power outage in West Seattle Junction

11:29 AM: Thanks for the tips! A power outage is reported to be affecting part of The Junction. So far the City Light map only shows 1 customer but that’s not always precise.

11:46 AM: SCL has updated to 419 homes/businesses affected.

(Photo tweeted by @WSJA)

11:58 AM: Actually two pockets – we’ve added a screengrab from the SCL map – totaling 450+ homes/businesses. No official word yet on the cause. Restoration time is estimated as 7 pm but remember, even SCL acknowledges those times are just speculative – could be sooner, could be later.

12:27 PM: And we’re getting word at least some of the power’s back on, after just about an hour.

12:41 PM: The SCL map has updated, showing the 419 customers (homes/businesses) in the larger pocket are back on, but the 32-customer pocket near 41st/Edmunds is still shown as without power.

3:56 PM: And the smaller pocket has since had its power restored too.

TRAFFIC ALERT: Pole problem in Gatewood

October 1, 2018 1:57 pm
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 |   Gatewood | Utilities | West Seattle news

Noticed this while out on an errand: A utility pole knocked sideways on the west side of California SW near Fontanelle in Gatewood. SDOT is on the scene and told us City Light had a crew en route. We didn’t hear the call in real time but the SPD Tweets by Beat log (which you can see on our Crime Watch page, continuously updated) shows a collision reported there this morning; no SFD call, so apparently no injuries.