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Originally published December 18, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Page modified December 18, 2006 at 11:47 AM

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Power days away for some residents

Some communities on the Eastside will have to wait several more days before they have electricity again, utility officials warn. Last week's windstorm left...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Some communities on the Eastside will have to wait several more days before they have electricity again, utility officials warn.

Last week's windstorm left 200,000 of Puget Sound Energy's 1.1 million customers still without power Sunday night in Western Washington and Kittitas County, spokesman Grant Ringel said.

Crews were reconnecting homes quickly in Bothell, Kenmore, Juanita, Kirkland and the Sammamish Plateau, where many or most customers will regain power soon, he said.

But in outlying spots such as Cougar Mountain in Bellevue, rural Woodinville, parts of North Bend, Snoqualmie, Duvall, Carnation and Skykomish in east King County, power will take longer to restore.

"We anticipate the more-isolated customers will see several more days out," Ringel said. Other King County spots on the "several more days" list include Issaquah, Lake Hills in Bellevue, Fall City, Fairwood, Lake Youngs and possibly others.

Much of Mercer Island remained without power. The island, where trees and power lines hang together above the few main roads, wasn't in the "several days" category yet, Ringel said. "We still have a lot of work."

The forecast looked better in Seattle, where 22,000 customers remained in the dark Sunday afternoon.

Electricity hotlines


For updates, or to report outages

Puget Sound Energy: 1-888-225-5773 or www.pse.com

Seattle City Light 206-684-3000 or www.seattle.gov/light

Snohomish County Public Utility District 425-783-1000 to report outages; updates at www.snopud.com.

Just 9,000 homes and businesses were still without power in Snohomish County on Sunday — but now that main lines are fixed, progress will occur more slowly as crews hook up a few houses at a time. The worst-hit spots are around Monroe, Snohomish, and the Canyon Park area of Bothell, said Neil Neroutsos, spokesman for Snohomish County Public Utility District.

About 60 percent of Puget Sound Energy (PSE) customers in Pierce, Thurston and Kitsap counties had their power back by Sunday. Whidbey Island was about two-thirds restored.

In Seattle, scattered outages persisted in South Park, Madrona, Leschi, Rainier Valley and West Seattle near Lincoln Park, Seattle City Light spokeswoman Suzanne Hartman said, as well as in suburban Normandy Park, Burien, Skyway, and Tukwila. Power was largely restored to North Seattle.

Hartman predicted that by this morning, the number of City Light customers without power would be reduced to 15,000.

A slow recovery

Last week's windstorm was more damaging than the Inauguration Day storm of 1993.

That's the main reason recovery has taken so long, utility officials say.

For instance, Seattle City Light is reconnecting 175,000 buildings this time, compared with only 110,000 in the 1993 storm.

And unlike in other storms, most of PSE's big transmission lines were damaged, including a big north-south line above the city of Sammamish.

In addition, the crews are tired from their work during this storm and earlier ones, said Neroutsos, the Snohomish PUD spokesman. It's been only two weeks since the snowstorm, and some crews are again working a cycle of 40 hours on, eight hours off, he said.

PSE says it had 330 crews out Sunday, and with more coming from as far as Kansas, will soon have 410 crews.

A downed line on Seattle's Fauntleroy Avenue Southwest shows the challenge, and frustrations. A tree had fallen into the line and snapped a nearby power pole. By noon Sunday the downed tree was trimmed, a new power pole was in place, but wires lay on the ground surrounded by red police tape — and no crew. Different workers complete each step.

Mike Lindblom: 206-515-5631 or mlindblom@seattletimes.com

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