With the Rum Creek fire in Josephine County and others raging in Oregon and hot, dry and windy weather conditions, elecrric companies warn of power shutoffs. 2021 file photo. (Photo by Northwest Interagency Coordination Center)

Electric companies in Oregon are warning thousands of customers that they could face power shutoffs amid a forecast of hot, windy conditions at a time of extreme wildfire risk.

Portland General Electric said in a news release on Wednesday that 30,000 households in 10 areas could be affected. 

“PGE is actively monitoring conditions and will make the decision based on factors including wind speed, temperature, humidity and the dryness of trees and brush, field observations and information from local fire departments and agencies,” it said in the release. “If conditions persist, PGE aims to provide up to four hours of notice before turning off power.”

The company has nearly 1 million customers in Oregon, that mostly covers the Portland area and east Multnomah County. The area is urban and “home to roughly 75% of the state’s commercial and industrial activity,” PGE said.

Pacific Power, which serves nearly 800,000 customers in Oregon, notified 12,500 on Thursday that they could face a shutoff starting at midnight. 

Pacific Power, which is owned by PacifiCorp, said in a news release that the timing of the shutoffs could vary, depending on conditions. 

Pacific Power:
Check the company’s website for more information about the affected areas, in English and Spanish. This webpage has more information about the shutoffs and how to prepare for them.
For non-emergency information, call 888-221-7070
Portland General Electric:
Check the company’s webpage to find out whether your home or business might be affected. Customers can also call 503-228-6322, with advisers available in 200 languages. To find out if your home or business might be affected, check PGE’s interactive map by typing in your address.

“It is our goal to communicate estimated start times with customers Thursday evening,” the company said in a news release.

Customers in six counties served by Pacific Power were notified by text, phone calls and by email, the company said. Shutoffs could affect the following areas:

• Lincoln County: Three Rocks, Otis, Rose Lodge

• Tillamook County: Boyer

• Douglas County: Glide, Peel, areas east along Oregon Route 138 including Toketee Falls, Clearwatch, Diamond Lake

• Linn County: Crawfordsville, Holley, Liberty, Sweet Home, Cascadia, Lacomb, Jordan

• Marion County: In Stayton east from Old Mehama Road through Oregon Route 22, Mehama, Lyons, Mill City, Gates and Niagara

• Polk County: A section of Oregon Route 18

Several fires are burning in Oregon – and Washington – with the Rum Creek Fire in Josephine County one of the largest. It has spread to more than 21,000 acres and destroyed eight structures, including two homes, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center

Pacific Power is setting up two temporary resource centers, with air conditioning, restrooms, security, WiFi, charging stations, pet crates, chairs and tables and refrigeration and heating.

They will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and the same hours on Saturday, provided service is not restored by then. They will be located in:Douglas County – Glide High School – 18990 N. Umpqua Highway, Glide, OR 97443Marion County – Bethel Baptist Church – 645 Cleveland Street, Aumsville, OR 97325

PGE said it will also set up resource centers and would provide details in a future release.

The shutoffs are a safety measure to prevent electricity-caused fires during hazardous weather conditions, including extremely low humidity, dry vegetation, elevated levels on key weather indexes and sustained winds and gusts. 

The two companies, which are overseen by the Public Utility Commission, are required to notify customers before shutoffs.

The companies advised customers to make sure their contact information is up to date so they can be notified. 

Oregon Capital Chronicle

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