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UPDATE: White Center/North Burien power outage

7:01 AM: Thanks for the tips. Yet another big power outage in the area – this time, 4,000-plus customers in White Center/North Burien. No word yet on the cause. But if you’re heading that way this morning, you should be aware. P.S. As far as we can tell, no overlap with the areas affected by the two big West Seattle outages in the past week and a half.

8:27 AM: The map shows it’s over.

8:32 AM: City Light says this outage was caused by a tree branch falling into a power line.

Key approval for Seattle Public Utilities’ plan to turn former bus yard into Drainage and Wastewater South Operations Center


(South Operations Center rendering, from city website)

Almost three years after we first reported on Seattle Public Utilities‘ plan to take over the former bus yard at 4500 West Marginal Way SW, just south of the West Seattle Bridge, the project has won a key land-use approval. Today’s city-circulated Land Use Information Bulletin includes an announcement of the decision. We published details last year about what SPU plans for what it will call the Drainage and Wastewater South Operations Center, and also covered a briefing given to the Highland Park Action Committee. You can read the full decision here. Today’s notice of approval opens a two-week period if anyone wants to file an appeal – the notice explains how. At last year’s briefing, SPU said it expected to start construction on the “retrofit/remodel” project next year; we’ll be checking to see if that’s still the plan.

For second time in a week, short but widespread West Seattle power outage: 16,000+ customers affected

(Screengrab from Seattle City Light website at peak of outage)

8:30 AM: Thanks for the texts. Ours is out too. We’re getting reports from a widespread area – as far north as Admiral. More to come.

8:38 AM: City Light map says more than 16,000 homes/businesses are out. Remember that intersections are four-way stops when the signals are out.

8:46 AM: City Light says via Twitter that they “believe the outage was caused by a switching problem and estimate power will be restored about 9:15 a.m.”

8:50 AM: It’s been six days since a similarly widespread outage (WSB coverage here) was blamed on a “relay malfunction,” though that one lasted only a few minutes.

8:53 AM: Our power’s back (Fauntleroy/Gatewood line). Yours? We of course will be following up with SCL. Also note that – as happened after last Tuesday’s even-shorter outage – there may be some lingering effects like flashing traffic signals.

9:26 AM: Just talked with Scott Thomsen at City Light, who is looking into questions such as whether this was human error, a mechanical problem, etc. He says the “routine maintenance” at the Delridge Substation continues so that’s one thing this did have in common with last Tuesday’s outage. We will update again later when we get more followup information.

2:23 PM: SCL’s Thomsen says via e-mail: “Crews were testing switchgear at the Delridge Substation as a part of our maintenance and reliability work. When one of the workers closed the doors for the switchgear they were testing, the vibrations tripped a relay, which then opened, cutting off power for the electrical bus (imagine a giant power strip connected to four feeder lines going out of the substation into the neighborhoods). Our engineering staff is looking at what we can do to dampen vibrations and avoid a repeat of this problem, which does occasionally affect utilities.”

UPDATE: Widespread – brief for most – West Seattle power outage

2:32 PM: Thanks for the tips – it’s not fully showing on the City Light map yet but we have reports of a far-flung West Seattle power outage. We have reports from Alki to Westwood. More to come.

2:40 PM: Back on already for many including us in Upper Fauntleroy. Will update as soon as we find out from SCL what this was about.

2:50 PM: According to comments, some are still out, and SCL is unreachable. (We have a message out to their media reps.)

The map now shows 444 customers out but continues to show it as many individual outages, which is not the way an outage usually would display.

3:02 PM: SCL spokesperson Hernann Ambion tells us a “relay malfunction” related to “routine maintenance” caused the short-lived outage. He says everybody’s back on but the map still shows some outages because the system read the problem as the Delridge Substation being offline when it wasn’t. He says everyone should be back on now.

3:17 PM: Couple of side notes: Your cable/wi-fi router might need a reset – we’ve seen that happen in some power outages, even short ones. Also, if you heard sirens/alarms, this triggered a lot of fire alarms and stopped elevators; you can see the evidence on the SFD real-time log (all the calls with SW addresses).

5:40 PM Scattered traffic-signal trouble, still. Such as Fauntleroy Way at Fairmount Park, flashing and with SDOT on scene.

West Seattle power outage: South end of Harbor Island

10:31 AM: A 78-customer power outage that stretches eastward across the Duwamish River is affecting south Harbor Island. Thanks for the call that tipped us to this – the screengrab above is from the Seattle City Light outage map. No word yet on the cause.

11:52 AM: Mary reports in comments that the power’s back on; the City Light map indeed shows the outage is over. We’re checking on the cause.

UPDATE: Gas-leak response in 4800 block Beach Drive SW

(Added – texted photo; thank you!)

2:24 PM: If you have to travel on Beach Drive SW south of Jacobsen, consider waiting a bit. There’s a Seattle Fire response blocking the road for a natural-gas leak in the 4800 block (here’s a map of the vicinity where it was reported). According to SFD communication monitored via scanner, a line was not punctured; it’s a “small leak” and they’re working to shut off the gas while awaiting Puget Sound Energy.

2:57 PM: Per the incident log, all SFD units have closed out of the call.

West Seattle power outage: 138 out in The Junction

July 10, 2018 8:10 pm
|    Comments Off on West Seattle power outage: 138 out in The Junction
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Thanks to Megan for the tip via Twitter: She says a “crash” was heard at Oregon 42 and then the power went out. The City Light map – itself suffering an outage when we first checked, but working again now – says 138 customers are out, pretty much right on that corner, southeast side of 42nd/Oregon. Cause is listed as “bird/animal” and SCL hopes to fix it within a few hours.

UPDATE: 2 West Seattle power outages

(Added 12:10 pm: Map of outages)

11:19 AM: Thanks for the tip: The Seattle City Light map shows 184 homes/businesses out in Highland Park/Puget Ridge, along 16th SW. No word on the cause yet; Brian says via e-mail, “Explosion was heard toward SSC and then power went out.”

12:03 PM: Checking the SCL site for an update, we see another 299 customers went out just west of the original outage zone, mostly along 21st SW, about half an hour ago. (updated) Added a map image for both outages.

1:19 PM: Tipster Aaron notes that SFD is/was checking out transformers near Riverview Playfield. Meantime, the newer, westernmost outage has dropped in size by about a third.

8:46 PM: As this has stretched on for so long, we tried SCL’s after-hours media pager and just got a call back. The outage was caused by a fire at the base of a pole in the greenbelt by SW Holly – the cause hasn’t been determined – but it’s been difficult for crews to access; they’re “close” to restoration, the spokesperson says.

10:17 PM: We noticed a few minutes ago that the outage was down to 191 customers. And we just got a text that power’s come back on at 21st/Holly. The map might not reflect that immediately.

10:40 PM: Looks like that was it – all but a handful are reconnected, after ~12 hours.

SCAM ALERT: Utility cutoff threat, again

This is not a new scam but somebody must still be falling for it, or else the scammers wouldn’t keep trying it. So we’re sharing the warning just received from Natalie – she got two calls this morning that both spoofed the official Seattle city utilities hotline, 206-684-3000, with someone telling her that her electricity was about to be cut off if she didn’t pay them pronto. The info on this City Light scam-alert page goes for Seattle Public Utilities too – including that they will “never call, email, or make a home visit requesting an immediate payment.” And if you hear from a would-be scammer – report it! Natalie says the SPU person with whom she spoke had gotten other recent reports too

UPDATE: Seattle Fire response for natural-gas leak at South Seattle College

July 2, 2018 9:04 am
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Seattle Fire response for natural-gas leak at South Seattle College
 |   Puget Ridge | Utilities | West Seattle news

(WSB photo)

9:04 AM: Big Seattle Fire response for a natural-gas leak at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) on Puget Ridge. Per scanner, it’s related to construction work and it’s toward the north side of campus. Puget Sound Energy is reported to be on scene too. We’re on our way to find out more.

9:09 AM: The response is being downsized.

9:20 AM: Our crew just arrived. The gas-line break is just north of the clock tower on campus. SSC buildings remain evacuated until PSE and SFD determine everything is OK – no estimate yet how long that’ll be.

9:54 AM: We just went back to check; SFD has cleared and people have been allowed back into the SCC buildings.

Water-main break under Admiral Way

Thanks for the tips on this. A Seattle Public Utilities repair crew is on the way to fix the break that has sent water over the top of Admiral Way hill, just south of the viewpoint. The SPU employee on the scene now tells us only one house is without water and that repairs will have to be made on the other side of Admiral – so be careful tonight if you’re driving/riding through that area.

UPDATE: Power’s back on at Pathfinder K-8; what City Light says about outage (and flicker elsewhere)

9:21 AM: Thanks for the tips about a power outage at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point. It never did show up on the City Light map so we tried calling the school – just got through and they tell us it WAS out but just came back on.

10:12 AM: We asked City Light about the outage. Here’s what Tony White can tell us about it so far:

There was a short outage this morning for some customers in the West Seattle/Delridge area due to a momentary outage on a feeder line coming from the Delridge Substation. It’s possible the outage at Pathfinder K-8 was related to this feeder outage, but not yet confirmed.

Crews have yet to determine the cause of the feeder outage, and are currently investigating to ascertain what happened. When they conclude their investigation of the feeder outage, they will be more informed about the possible cause of the Pathfinder outage. … They are currently walking the lines investigating the feeder outage, which has the potential to affect numerous customers if it were to happen again. When outages occur, City Light’s response prioritizes life safety first, followed by emergency services and then by repairs which will bring the largest number of customers back into service.

UPDATE: Power outage on west Charlestown Hill

June 17, 2018 1:28 pm
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Power outage on west Charlestown Hill
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

1:28 PM: Thanks for the tip – City Light says more than 80 homes lost power at midmorning on west Charlestown Hill. “Equipment failure” is listed as the cause, and the restoration estimate is 4:18 pm – could be sooner, could be later.

3:10 PM: A few homes have their power back – City Light’s map has downsized the outage to 69, though it’s also changed the cause to “investigating.”

5:48 PM: Outage over since last we checked, per SCL map.

Brown water in Upper Fauntleroy

For all the times we’ve written about what to do if your tap water is brown/discolored … this time it’s happened at WSB HQ. So in case anyone else in Upper Fauntleroy or vicinity is experiencing it, we did call Seattle Public Utilities – which wants to hear from you if it ever happens where you are – at 206-386-1800. They say hydrant use in the area has stirred up sediment. (Here’s SPU’s complete “what if my water’s discolored?” page.)

SCAM ALERT: Fake utility callers at it again

We hope everyone’s aware of this scam by now but just in case – we got a call from Luna Park Café a little while ago, and they had just received the infamous utility-scam call. Businesses are a favorite target of these scammers, who claim your power’s about to be cut off unless you pay some money right now. Utilities including City Light say they don’t do business that way. But if you get a call like that and somehow fear you might be in arrears, you can call the utility to be sure. All the info you need is here.

West Seattle power outage: 100+ customers in south Arbor Heights/Arroyos/Seola

4:26 AM: Thanks for the tip about an outage in the south Arbor Heights/Arroyos/Seola area. Seattle City Light‘s map says 106 homes are without power; no cause listed so far. (This is near the area where City Light plans to start a project soon to replace underground cable, with an informational open house this Wednesday.)

7:45 AM:: As commenters note, SCL has since updated to blame a tree.

1:25 PM: Restored since our last check a couple hours ago.

POWER PROJECT: Seattle City Light to start South Arbor Heights/Arroyos work soon; informational ‘open house’ next week

Seattle City Light says it’s starting work soon on its project to replace underground cables for “enhanced electrical reliability and efficiency” in South Arbor Heights and The Arroyos, so if you have questions about the project, a drop-in open house has been announced for one week from today: 5:30-7 pm at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). SCL says the work “will require installing new conduits, vaults, and other associated work. Streetlights will also be replaced as part of this work.” The work is expected to start in early-to-mid-May, on California SW between SW 106th and 107th. This will be a long-running project, per SCL: “Civil construction is estimated to last approximately 1 1/2 years. Additional streetlight work will follow.”

WORK ALERT: Water-main replacement soon in Upper Alki

March 29, 2018 6:23 pm
|    Comments Off on WORK ALERT: Water-main replacement soon in Upper Alki
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Starting next week, Seattle Public Utilities will be replacing a water main on Hobart Ave. SW [map] in Upper Alki. It’s “part of a citywide water main restoration effort,” SPU says. They expect to start work next week, with the project lasting about six weeks, mostly Mondays-Fridays 7 am-5 pm. SPU says they hope to reopen the street during non-work hours. The project is also expected to include “two short (about 1 hour) and two long (about 8 hours)” water shutdowns, with advance notice for residents who will be affected. Questions? Brian Eng is project manager – brian.eng@seattle.gov or (206) 386-9744.

UPDATE: City Light discovers what caused the brief, widespread power outage in West Seattle

8:05 PM: At HQ here in Upper Fauntleroy, we lost power a few minutes ago for something more than a flicker. Checking around on Twitter, other areas – Morgan Junction, South Delridge, Gatewood, for starters – confirmed it happened there too. And via scanner, we’re hearing a report of something that sounded like “an explosion” near Delridge/Thistle – emergency responders are checking.

8:18 PM: Still a mystery. We went to Delridge/Thistle to look around, nothing in view, power on. No outages have turned up on the SCL map. Strange because in our decade-plus of tracking outages, almost invariably, a flicker in one place accompanies an outage elsewhere. We’re attempting to reach a City Light spokesperson.

8:31 PM: Just talked to an SCL spokesperson. They don’t know what caused it either, but have crews headed this way to investigate.

9:35 PM: City Light says their crews found out what happened: “The cause was due to a blown lightning arrester (equipment failure).”

Harbor Island power outage; wires down at 1st/Spokane

10:45 AM: Thanks for the tip about a power outage on Harbor Island. The City Light map confirms 200+ customers out both on Harbor Island and east, around Spokane St. east of Highway 99. SDOT reports downed wires in 1st/Spokane vicinity.

11:01 AM: Eastbound Spokane is blocked west of 1st; stoplights are out on E. Marginal at, and north of, Spokane. The light on Spokane east of the low bridge is out too, though the bridge itself appears to be operating normally.

12:04 PM: Texter says they have power back, and the SCL map confirms the outage is partly resolved.

12:39 PM: The map shows Harbor Island is all back on except for a few spots south of the low bridge.

4:28 PM: Added above, a photo of the power pole that was hit, causing the outage. About two dozen customers are still shown as out, along Spokane between 99 and 4th Ave. S.

Brown water reported east of West Seattle Junction

March 4, 2018 11:35 am
|    Comments Off on Brown water reported east of West Seattle Junction
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

In case you’re experiencing it too, reader Brian, who contacted Seattle Public Utilities about brown water in the 4800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW, says he’s been told it’s the result of SPU line-flushing in the area this morning. SPU always advises calling 206-386-1800 if your water is discolored – there are several potential causes, and sometimes they won’t know until they start hearing from customers. Brian says SPU told him to “use water as little as possible for the next few hours to not further agitate the trust. It should take 3 to 8 hours to clear up.”

WEST SEATTLE POWER OUTAGE: Riverview boom, and a reminder

3:42 PM: There’s a small Seattle City Light outage in Riverview right now after what a tipster texted us was a boom that they suspect involved a transformer. The SCL map notation attributes the outage to “equipment failure.” Meantime, we want to remind you that the forecast calls for things to get windy tonight and early tomorrow, possibly gusting up to 33 mph – no official alert, but there wasn’t one last Sunday either, when gusts took down trees and took out power, so you’d be wise to be ready just in case.

10:05 PM: Jen says in a comment that the power was restored around 9:15.

P.S. Forecasters are still predicting a windy night and early morning – keep everything charged!

WEST SEATTLE POWER OUTAGE: 181 Alki customers

February 22, 2018 3:34 am
|    Comments Off on WEST SEATTLE POWER OUTAGE: 181 Alki customers
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

One power outage so far – 181 customers along 62nd SW in Alki lost electricity just after 1 am. No cause listed but just as we were typing this, our tipster says it came back on.

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