Restoring power after a storm

12/14/2018

Fletcher Bay Rd NE on Bainbridge is covered with snow after a storm in February 2017

Have you ever wondered how PSE gets the lights back on after an outage? In a large storm, hundreds of our employees and partners work tirelessly to get the lights back on – there is no higher priority for us than safely restoring power. We also bring in additional crews from Canada, Oregon and Montana when needed to help bolster our response.

  1. Puget Sound Energy crews focus first on restoring power to high-voltage transmission lines that provide power to substations serving large numbers of customers in a broad geographic area.
  2. Priority for power restoration also goes to essential services such as hospitals, water/waste water systems, energy and transportation.
  3. Once the high-voltage transmission system and substations are back online, PSE crews focus on repairing damage to distribution and service lines – the lines that directly serve homes and businesses. During an outage, one part of a neighborhood may have its lights on while another remains without power. Because our electric system works in sections or circuits, PSE crews re-route power around the damaged areas, thereby isolating the section that requires repairs.

Assess, restore, repair

Depending upon the severity of a power outage, it may take PSE crews many hours to provide accurate power-restoration estimates. PSE’s first priority in restoring power is safety to the public and employees. Crews make certain that downed power lines do not create a safety hazard. Once the damage is assessed, PSE crews restore power as quickly as possible. Following restoration, crews will schedule any follow-up repairs needed to permanently repair the damaged electric system.

Stay informed

If you're away from home when the power goes out, you can check our outage map for status updates and estimated restoration times. Downloading the myPSE app will also allow you to report and track outages from anywhere on your mobile device - you can download it here.

Storms and fallen branches are part of life in the Pacific Northwest. Each and every year, we invest in reliability and system improvements to reduce the number and duration of outages customers experience on the Island. For more information on the Island’s electric system and our reliability improvement efforts, check our electric system page and frequently asked questions about reliability.