Jefferson County PUD calculates close to $900k in costs from November windstorm

Posted 1/18/23

Whether it was downed poles, wire splices, or damaged transformers, November’s severe windstorm took its toll on the Peninsula.

The Jefferson County Public Utility District has evaluated a …

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Jefferson County PUD calculates close to $900k in costs from November windstorm

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Whether it was downed poles, wire splices, or damaged transformers, November’s severe windstorm took its toll on the Peninsula.

The Jefferson County Public Utility District has evaluated a total cost of $877,277 attributed with the Nov. 4 storm that knocked out the power to more than 300,000 homes across Western Washington.

The calculated cost includes a range of expenses, though the highest toll came from workers’ wages for the line crews that worked nonstop for multiple nights to bring electricity back to people around east Jefferson County.

“That’s what really adds up in these outage events, is working around the clock, literally,” said PUD spokesperson Jameson Hawn. “It was a nonstop effort by our line crews to get everyone reenergized.”

Fortunately for the utility authority, it anticipates around 75 percent of the outage costs to be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the utility district’s board of commissioners approved an emergency declaration Nov. 8 for funding eligibility.

FEMA announced Jan. 12 that President Joseph Biden approved a major disaster declaration for Washington state, with federal disaster assistance being made available to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in areas affected by the storm from
Nov. 3 through Nov. 8.

For customers worried about bill increases or delays for smart meter or broadband projects due to the storm costs, the projects and bills will not be impacted by the damages, according to the PUD.

The broadband and smart meter projects will not be affected due to the majority of funds coming from state and federal grants rather than just the PUD’s coffers, according to Hawn.

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