9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2022
Crews responded to various outages across our service territory Jan. 3 due to gusting winds, drifting snow and other hazardous conditions. Crews worked through the night and have restored power to all members.
Wind and snow drifts led to closure of many area roads throughout the day, including Highway 11 outside of Pendleton, which blocked access to our crews in and around Mission and Weston.
Due to impassable roads, the Weston Mountain area was especially challenging in restoring power. With communication between UEC and Oregon Department of Transportation, priorities were focused on getting access to restore power to these members. Using the Snow-Cat and side-by-side with tracks, crews were able to restore power to Weston Mountain members at 11 p.m. on Jan. 3.
The Mission area, which included areas south of I-84, was the largest outage resulting from the storm. Crews replaced 10 broken poles, 8 overhead transformers and repaired 20 different sections of line. In all these cases, UEC assets had to be dug out of the waist deep snow before being repaired. The last member in this region had power restored at 3 a.m. on Jan. 4.
"The combination of the high winds, closed roads, and deep snow made it difficult, but crews worked without a break to ensure that our members got power back as quickly as possible," said UEC Operations Manager Kevin Knutz. "We made repairs at 10 different locations on 8 different circuits, and the total number of members affected during this event was 573. Our restoration efforts saw approximately 568 manhours worked with 2,767 miles driven in hazardous work and driving conditions, all without an incident, which highlights our continued work in maintaining an excellent culture of safety."