Hundreds of downed power lines: 'We're treading water, but we hope to start gaining ground by this afternoon'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Utility crews are working to repair the hundreds of power lines that broke after Saturday's ice storm.

EWEB hopes to have a majority of the lines repaired by Monday, but spokesman Joe Harwood said realistically it could be Tuesday or Wednesday before crews repair each of the smaller lines that go to pockets of two and three customers. | Power outage tips

"We get one big block of customers restored and then we lose another. We're treading water, but we hope to start gaining ground by this afternoon," said Harwood.

Other utility companies around Lane County are experiencing a similar situation as tree branches continue to snap under the weight of ice and snow.

The Springfield Utility Board said they believe most of the tree limbs stopped falling early Sunday morning. Officials warn that there will still be dangers as thawing ice drops from branches, utility wires and other overhanging surfaces.

Latest updates:

Springfield Utility Board: Springfield Utility Board Crews continue to work around the clock to restore power to its customers. Limbs continued to fall into repaired lines causing customers to have power come on and then go out again until the line was repaired. Approximately 500 customers remain without power. Approximately 300 of these are customers with individual outages including some with services from the back of property lines. In some cases, a customer will need an electrician to do a repair before SUB reconnects service. SUB continues to do triage to address wider spread outages.

Eugene Water and Electric Board: The Eugene Water & Electric Board anticipates that crews will restore electric service to another 1,600 customers by late Sunday night or early Monday morning, meaning roughly 4,300 customers will remain without power into Monday and Tuesday.

In the next 10 hours include Awbrey Lane-Highway 99; the Kinsrow-University Commons development near Autzen Stadium; the area including Crocker Road, Stark Street, Alyndale Drive and Bobolink Avenue; and East 24th Avenue around Harris and Potter streets. EWEB's first priority at this time is to make safe all downed power lines to prevent harm to the public. Once safety is assured, crews will begin assessing the damage and prioritizing restoration work.

The utility urges any customers without electric service at this time to prepare to remain without power overnight and possibly into Monday or Tuesday.

Lane Electric: We've just learned that some large trees have fallen across the transmission lines serving the Fox Hollow Substation taking the number of Lane Electric members without electric service to 4859. Members in that area are without service. Crews will be inspecting the situation to determine the extent of the damages. As more details become available, they will be posted on the web site.

Emerald People's Utility District: "Customers need to understand the danger downed power lines present," warned Emerald PUD General Manager Scott Coe. "For their safety, they must stay far away from the power line until their utility can respond. Lives depend on it."

Updates from their Twitter and Facebook pages.

Pacific Power: Pacific Power crews set to work through night to restore power to mid-Willamette Valley area Lebanon area hardest hit by serious combination of snow, ice and wind.

Pacific Power crews are entering their second night of battling the elements to restore electrical service to customers in the mid-Willamette Valley. More than 7,000 customers are without power in the area due to outages caused by snow and ice covered trees dropping on power lines.

"Access is our biggest issue at this time," said Doug Butler, vice president of operations. "We are able to concentrate our resources on a specific area and we're bringing experienced crews and equipment to the hardest hit areas from less affected parts of the state."

Here are a few tips and safety precautions for those who lost power during the ice storm:

  • Stay away from all downed power lines and utility lines. Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous.

  • Candles should never be left unattended or used for extended periods. Use a flashlight or other battery-powered lighting source.

  • Use a fireplace or wood stove to keep warm. Pay careful attention to fire hazards.

  • Never use kerosene or propane heaters inside without proper ventilation. They create dangerous fumes. Also, don't use charcoal in your house or garage.

  • Never use a barbecue grill indoors. Cook over sterno cans.

  • Don't drive over downed power lines.

  • Turn on your porch light switch. After crews complete repairs, they patrol the area of the power failure to see if lights are on.

  • As much as possible, do not open refrigerators and freezers--they will keep food and perishables inside cold for some time if not opened.

  • Preserve body heat by wearing multiple layers of clothing. Add a hat and blanket to stay warm. Blankets and towels around windows and doors help keep the heat in.

  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who may need special assistance. Also, check with others who have electricity, to see if you can visit.

  • Protect your pipes during freezing weather by wrapping them with insulation. Also, leave faucets dripping so water won't freeze and crack the pipes.

  • Generators should be outside or in a well ventilated unoccupied space.

  • Make sure generators are properly wired for your home or business, and don't connect a generator directly to your home's main fuse box or circuit panel. This can create a dangerous back feed hazard for line crews.

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