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After winter storm, PGE says it’s nearing finish line of power restoration

An all-too-common scene in the 
Portland region: Downed tree limbs in West Linn on Monday, a week after the storm.
Jan Boyd
/
An all-too-common scene in the Portland region: Downed tree limbs in West Linn on Monday, a week after the storm.

Officials with Portland General Electric announced Monday that utility crews are in the last stretch of restoring power to the hundreds of thousands of customers who lost electricity after a historic ice storm downed power lines across the region.

The storm has left some in the area without electricity for over a week. In a press conference, PGE President Maria Pope said 24,000 customers remained without power Monday afternoon.

Pope said work crews have completed most of the big repairs on substations, transmission lines, and facilities that can impact thousands of customers with each fix. Workers are now turning their attention to smaller repairs that may only impact a handful of customers at a time.

That means, from here on, the restoration efforts will start to feel slower, she said.

“At this point, the repairs only bring back about 10 customers at a time,” said Pope. “It’s really slow-going given the amount of damage.”

Dale Goodman, director of utility operations at PGE, said repairs will be prioritized based on how many people they can help with each job.

Pope said there were upwards of 5,000 points of equipment damage that the utility still needs to address. She could not give an estimate as to when these final repairs would be completed.

“I would love to give you a more precise estimate of when power will be restored, but unfortunately as we take two steps forward mother nature pushes us back,” she said.

Last night, the utility said additional customers lost electricity after high winds in Tigard and Tualatin.

Pacific Power, the other large power company in the Portland region, has returned service to nearly all the 80,000 customers who lost their electricity during the winter storm last week.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rebecca Ellis