January 30, 2008 in City

Power outages linger for nearly 2,000 area residents

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Brian Plonka photo

Cheri Catt sits in her darkened Mount Spokane home Monday, while buckets of snow thaw next to her stove.
(Full-size photo)

A little woodstove kept Cheri Catt’s house about 53 degrees Tuesday. The Mount Spokane resident had moved food from the refrigerator to her deck. And there was no water.

Catt’s electricity went out Sunday.

She was among nearly 2,000 residents throughout the Inland Northwest who had been in the dark since a snowstorm hit last weekend. “I’ve never had power out this long,” the Sterling Savings Bank employee said.

With Tuesday’s storm adding even more weight to trees and power lines, power was out in about 4,500 Kootenai and Spokane county households and businesses Tuesday evening.

Inland Power and Light, which provides Catt’s electricity, reported 2,800 outages Tuesday night. That included 1,500 customers offline since Sunday.

Other utility companies were beginning to get a handle on power restoration – until Tuesday’s storm hit. The increasing snow and wind compounded the problem.

Avista had restored power to all but 190 customers in the region, down from the peak of 7,700 customers with no power. But the number had fallen to 500 by Tuesday night, spokeswoman Catherine Markson said.

Some people had their power back on while others were losing it, Markson said. Most of Avista’s outages were in the Coeur d’Alene, Rathdrum and Post Falls areas, with 732 customers suffering outages. In addition, about 150 Avista customers in the Tekoa area remained without power.

Coeur d’Alene had the most outages, Markson said. The rest were spread throughout the region, with 84 outages reported in Spokane and 92 in Davenport.

About 700 Kootenai Electric Cooperative members, mainly in the Athol area, were without power Tuesday night. The utility restored power to about 1,500 customers in the Harrison and Plummer areas earlier in the day, spokeswoman Erika Neff said in a press release.

Inland Power and Light reported customers without electricity in Cheney, Spangle, Rosalia, Rockford, Valleyford, Mica, Freeman, Greenbluff, Newman Lake, the Mount Spokane area, Hangman Valley, Deer Park and Tum Tum, said Dan Villalobos, a spokesman. “They are all over the place,” he said. “We not only have our own crews, we’ve called in 18 contractor line crews.”

Villalobos said he was reluctant to predict when power would be restored because just when crews think the work is under control, another problem occurs. The lines are being worked on around the clock, he said.


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