Holiday Farm Fire

 Announcements and Information

We have transitioned from the emergency generator to a more stable power resource from Cougar Dam. We are pleased to be able to avoid the more frequent shut downs needed to service a back-up generator and to once again provide clean, local and reliable hydropower!

This Thursday we will be switching back over to our primary feed from BPA. This will require a brief outage at 2:30pm on Thursday 10/15/2020.

 

Lane Electric – Community Update – 10.21.20

 

We made significant progress in the Upriver area last week and have restored power to all remaining homes. For those who have lost their home and are starting rebuilding efforts, there are temporary power options available and we have provided a FAQ below. We appreciate our members’ patience and support as we work towards full power restoration for the community.

Lane Electric is committed to rebuilding the communities we serve along with fully understanding the cause of the fire, which is currently under investigation. We are cooperating with federal and state authorities and are unaware that any of our assets contributed to the cause of the fire at this time.  A thorough investigation will take time and patience.

As more information becomes available, we will continue to share it. As always, please stay safe and do not approach down power lines. Always assume they are energized.

 

Down River, Western Service Area:

 

  • The Down River area was significantly damaged, in what was the worst fire season on record.
  • We made significant progress in the Down River area and energized the mainline over the weekend.
  • We are repairing or rebuilding the taps leading to the homes remaining in the area. This is a house-by-house process and takes time due to the extensive damage in the Down River area.
  • For customers who have questions about their rebuilding process and/or temporary power we have created a new FAQ resource below.
  • We are running three utility crews to expedite rebuilding efforts. Last week’s progress includes moving brush and downed trees, setting pole holes, and excavating around cabinets and transformers so our line crews can complete their work quickly.
  • Crews from Emerald PUD helped us last week and Douglas Electric Cooperative is scheduled to help this week. This is truly a community effort and we appreciate their support to help us expedite the rebuilding process.
  • We coordinated with EWEB to provide power to those homes closest to their service territory. We appreciate their collaboration to help expedite service to our members.

 

Upriver, Eastern Service Area:

  • Last week BPA restored their 115KV feed ahead of schedule and we have restored power to all remaining homes in the Upriver area.
  • Moving forward, Cougar Dam will serve as a reliable backup system. The generator at the Blue River substation will be kept as an alternate backup as well.

 

Pro Bono Fire Resources:

  • The Oregon Trial Lawyers Association has established a hotline and pro bono resources to support victims of fire-damaged homes, businesses and property by providing free consultations about insurance claims and next steps. Click here for more information.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Oregon Department of Forestry Holiday Farm Fire Information

Lane County Holiday Farm Fire Resources

ODOT Wildfire Response and Recovery

ODOT Trip Check

 

Electric Service FAQ

 

Home Wasn’t Destroyed by the Fire

 

Q: What actions do I need to take to get service restored?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will be happy to assist you.

 

Q: Can Lane Electric provide a diagram to show me what I’m looking at to understand the power lines to my property so that I know what might need to be repaired?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will communicate the technical details of your electric service.

 

Home Was Destroyed by the Fire

 

Q: I’m hiring an electrician to install a meter base and RV hookup for temporary power while rebuilding. Where should I put it now that the original service location is gone? Will I have to pay because it is not in the original location?

A: Please contact our engineering team at 541-484-1151 and they will be happy to assist you. Installations will be evaluated per Lane Electric’s line extension policy.

 

Q: Does Lane Electric need to get permits to put in temporary service for an RV and for contractors?

A: Prior to the temporary service installation, the member or their electrician should obtain a permit from the government agency responsible for issuing permits in their area.

 

Q: The power lines in my area need to be routed differently. Will there be consideration given to that since it needs to be rebuilt anyway? What can I do to about that?

A: All installations will be evaluated by Lane Electric’s staking technicians and configured in accordance with industry best practices.

 

Q: Is the town of Blue River going to be the last to get power restored (even temporary) because everything is basically destroyed?

A: Power is restored to the main lines on Blue River Road and Blue River drive. Individual connections are being restored as they are scheduled and when crews are available.

 

General FAQ

 

Q: How can I obtain a ‘Power Outage Confirmation Letter’ for my insurance company or FEMA?

A: Please call the Lane Electric office at 541-484-1151 or email us at info@laneelectric.com. We can send you a physical copy and/or email you a digital version.

 

Q: How will I get information if I return home before any communication or internet capabilities is restored?

A: As this rapidly changes, we anticipate cell service being added. Please contact your cell provider for the latest information.

 

Q: I need to access my property but there is wire down across my driveway that I’m told not to cross. How do I get the wire removed and when will that happen?

A: Please call the main office at 541-484-1151 and we will provide an estimated time.

 

Q: When will my power be restored if I am in the fire zone west of the Blue River substation?

A:  We are currently in the assessment and planning phase of our restoration efforts. We are working with the agencies involved and other utility providers to determine our next course of action. We will communicate a timeline as soon as the assessment is complete.

 

Q: How does Lane Electric determine when to shut off power?

A: We do not take power shutoffs lightly and do so when there’s fire danger (temperature, relative humidity, wind) and physical threats to the safety of our communities.

 

Q: Is Lane Electric’s equipment responsible for causing the fire?

A: The cause of the fire is under investigation and we are fully cooperating with federal and state authorities.  We are unaware that any of our assets contributed to the cause of the fire at this time.  A thorough investigation will take time and patience, and we want to respect the investigation and the process.  In the meantime, Lane Electric is focused on power restoration for our members and is engaged in the rebuilding effort in these great communities we serve.

 

Q: Are you considering upgrades to the power system as a part of the rebuild?

A: All options are on the table, and we plan to give each possibility the due diligence it deserves. FEMA hazard mitigation funds will be helpful in considering options that were not previously feasible.

 

Q: Why hasn’t Lane Electric undergrounded all their lines? 

A:  Undergrounding power lines is an expensive and time-consuming process, but Lane Electric is further along than many other rural utilities. More than half of our system is already underground, and we continue to bury more of it each year.

 

Q: Where can I get more information about current power outages?

A: Lane Electric’s ‘Outage Map & Status‘ page is a useful resource for up to date information about any ongoing large-scale power outages.

 

Q: What about my current power bill?

A: We are doing all we can to help our communities cope with devasting loss and the prospect of rebuilding. Member Assistance Program funds will be used to cover amounts owed by those who lost their homes in the fire. If you lost your home or will not be returning to your home for some time, we will suspend or disconnect your account, which will prevent a bill from being generated.  Please call our office to discuss your home’s status and how we can help throughout this process.

 

Q: What fees will I need to pay when disconnecting and eventually to rebuild?

A: All fees to disconnect, reconnect, and rebuild line extensions will be waived for those in the fire-damaged area.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

Oregon Department of Forestry Holiday Farm Fire Information

Lane County Holiday Farm Fire Resources

ODOT Wildfire Response and Recovery

ODOT Trip Check

 

FAQ

 

Q: How can I obtain a ‘Power Outage Confirmation Letter’ for my insurance company or FEMA?

A: Please call the Lane Electric office at 541-484-1151 or email us at info@laneelectric.com. We can send you a physical copy and/or email you a digital version.

 

Q: How will I get information if I return home before any communication or internet capabilities is restored?

A: As this rapidly changes, we anticipate cell service being added. Please contact your cell provider for the latest information.

 

Q: When will my power be restored if I am in the fire zone west of the Blue River substation?

A:  We are currently in the assessment and planning phase of our restoration efforts. We are working with the agencies involved and other utility providers to determine our next course of action. We will communicate a timeline as soon as the assessment is complete.

 

Q: How does Lane Electric determine when to shut off power?

A: We do not take power shutoffs lightly and do so when there’s fire danger (temperature, relative humidity, wind) and physical threats to the safety of our communities.

 

Q: Is Lane Electric’s equipment responsible for causing the fire?

A: The cause of the fire is under investigation and we are fully cooperating with federal and state authorities.  We are unaware that any of our assets contributed to the cause of the fire at this time.  A thorough investigation will take time and patience, and we want to respect the investigation and the process.  In the meantime, Lane Electric is focused on power restoration for our members and is engaged in the rebuilding effort in these great communities we serve.

 

Q: Are you considering upgrades to the power system as a part of the rebuild?

A: All options are on the table, and we plan to give each possibility the due diligence it deserves. FEMA hazard mitigation funds will be helpful in considering options that were not previously feasible.

 

Q: Why hasn’t Lane Electric undergrounded all their lines? 

A:  Undergrounding power lines is an expensive and time-consuming process, but Lane Electric is further along than many other rural utilities. More than half of our system is already underground, and we continue to bury more of it each year.

 

Q: Where can I get more information about current power outages?

A: Lane Electric’s ‘Outage Map & Status‘ page is a useful resource for up to date information about any ongoing large-scale power outages.

 

Q: What about my current power bill?

A: We are doing all we can to help our communities cope with devasting loss and the prospect of rebuilding. Member Assistance Program funds will be used to cover amounts owed by those who lost their homes in the fire. If you lost your home or will not be returning to your home for some time, we will suspend or disconnect your account, which will prevent a bill from being generated.  Please call our office to discuss your home’s status and how we can help throughout this process.

 

Q: What fees will I need to pay when disconnecting and eventually to rebuild?

A: All fees to disconnect, reconnect, and rebuild line extensions will be waived for those in the fire-damaged area.

 

For Media and Press Contacts: Call (541) 284-0454 or send requests to Jonathan.Farmer@laneelectric.com.