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Crews Continue To Restore Power To Remaining Utility Customers Hit By Storms

Douglas Electric Cooperative

Across southern Oregon, more and more utility customers are getting hooked up with power after heavy snowstorms last month caused massive outages.  KLCC’s Brian Bull has this update.

Nearly two weeks after the storms, EPUD and Lane Electric Cooperative say they expect to have power mostly restored to their remaining customers by the weekend. EWEB has 77 residences left to go, nearly half in the McKenzie River Valley.  And Douglas Electric Cooperative spokesman Todd Munsey says crews are working hard to get the lights back on for about a third of its 9,600 customers.

Credit Douglas Electric Cooperative
The latest restoration map from Douglas Electric Cooperative shows where crews are currently working to restore power.

“Honestly, we try to underestimate and over deliver, and get them back on before we say they’re going to be back on…but we want at least be close," he tells KLCC. 

Credit Douglas Electric Cooperative
Heavy snow, fallen trees, and mud have challenged utility crews across the region.

"And that’s a challenge right now, as we start going from transmission and distribution feeders, down into individual residences.”

Munsey adds the last worst storm caused $300,000 worth of damage to Douglas Electric’s system. But this one is currently ringing in at $6 million.  Like many other utilities affected by last month's heavy snowstorms, Douglas Electric Cooperatives is hoping the federal government approves Governor Kate Brown's emergency declaration to FEMA funds may compensate 75 percent of their damage costs.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.