January 2024 Ice Storm FAQ
Winter 2024 Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get the latest updates on outages?
Please visit https://laneelectric.com/outages/outage-map/ where we are providing updates at least twice per day, including a morning status report and evening status report. We are also frequently sharing images of repairs and work in progress on our Facebook page.
When will power be restored to my street/area?
Where specific restoral times are available, they are shared on our outage map page.
Why isn’t there an estimated restoration time for my street/area yet?
We wholeheartedly understand our members’ desire for more specific updates and estimated restoral times. Lane Electric’s service territory covers 2,600 square miles and 16 cities, many in very rural, remote and heavily forested areas. The complexity of this outage, which has impacted our substations, main distribution lines, tap lines and service lines to individual homes, makes it very difficult to provide accurate restoral times for individual areas. We will continue to share information as soon as it is available.
If you would like more information on the restoration process, please visit https://laneelectric.com/outages/restoration-process There is also additional information further down on this page.
What resources are available to help members who are still without power?
Lane County Emergency Management is currently operating daytime and overnight warming shelters where members can receive food, charge devices and access community resources. Their site also provides information on food and water safety, road closures and additional disaster resources.
How can I speed power restoration to my property?
Please inspect the lines leading to your meter and the service equipment at your home.
Meter re-energization will not be possible until repairs on homeowner-owned equipment are completed. If the weatherhead, mast or meter is damaged, it is essential to contact an electrician for repairs. Visit https://laneelectric.com/outages/outage-restoration/ for more information, including local electricians and a diagram of homeowner-owned electrical equipment.
How do I share information with LEC about an outage at my home or damage I’ve observed?
Please call us at 541-484-1151 to report damage. Telephone lines are answered 24 hours a day. Never touch or go near a downed powerline.
Who is working on repairs? Has LEC called in any additional support?
Lane Electric lineman along with eight mutual aid crews from across Oregon and Washington are leading repairs. In total, about 60 lineman are working tirelessly to restore power to all affected members. The lineman are supported by several additional crews including West Lane Tree Service. Mutual aid crews providing additional repair support include:
- Central Electric Cooperative (Redmond, Oregon)
- Columbia Rural Electric Association (Walla Walla, Washington)
- Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative (Port Orford, Oregon)
- DJ’s Electrical Inc.
- Douglas Electric Cooperative (Roseburg, Oregon)
- Harney Electric Cooperative (Hines, Oregon)
- Midstate Electric Cooperative (LaPine, Oregon)
- Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (Baker City, Oregon)
Why is power taking so long to be restored?
One of the many things that made this storm notable is the unusually heavy ice that prevented most meaningful work from being completed in the first four days. As ice accumulated, our linemen faced an uphill battle as new trees fell, frequently undoing completed repairs or making roads impassable.
Transmission lines, distribution lines to individual buildings, substations and other equipment was damaged. Each piece of equipment must be visually inspected and repaired across our 2,600 mile service territory. The storm also affected areas where transmission lines travel through precarious territory, such as canyons and heavily forested areas, further complicating re-energization.
Creswell bore the brunt of this extreme storm within Lane Electric’s service territory. The extent of the damage is unprecedented, surpassing even that of the 2019 winter storm. So far, our crews have identified 158 damaged or downed poles in our service territory, with a staggering 118 of them in Creswell.
There’s no downed trees or lines in my neighborhood, why is the power out?
Damage may have occurred further away on transmission lines or at the substation, preventing power from being transmitted to your neighborhood. Lane Electric is working as swiftly and safely as possible to restore power to all members.
There are repairmen working nearby, can they provide an update on when power will be back on?
Our linemen are working swiftly to return power to all members. Electric transmission repair is extremely dangerous and requires our crews’ full attention. Stopping them to ask questions delays repairs. Please see our outage map for the latest updates or call 541-484-1151.
How do I know if the substation serving my home has been impacted?
The two remaining substations impacted are located in the Creswell area. Below is a list of roads served by these substations.
BEAR CREEK RD
BEAR MOUNTAIN RD
GREEN BLUFF DR
N JACKSON LN
LAZY E WAY
MORNING STAR RD
RUSSELL OAKS DR
SPRING HILL RD
N BEACH RD
BENNETT CREEK RD
FIR VIEW LN
LYNX HOLLOW RD
N PACIFIC HWY
TURKEY RUN RD
CEDAR HILLS DR
N ENTERPRISE RD
SPRING HILL LN
Once the generator is on in Creswell or transmission is back to Lynx Hollow, will power be back on at my home?
Creswell: We expect the Cloverdale Substation to be back online, powered by a backup generator, this Wednesday, January 24th.
Lynx Hollow: We are currently assessing the restoration timeline for the Lynx Hollow and will provide an estimate as soon as possible. To bring this substation back online we are rebuilding the transmission line to the area. There are lots of canyons and steep terrain in this part of our service territory which makes repairs challenging.
Power restoration to individual members in these areas could take longer, depending on the state of the lines in their area.
Why did this storm cause so many outages?
Many members may recall the devastating 2019 snow storm that caused significant damage across Lane County. The 2024 ice storm damage surpasses the 2019 storm, largely due to the volume of ice accumulation on trees and power equipment loss across our service area. Thousands of otherwise healthy trees were downed during the storm. Lane Electric transmission lines, distribution lines to individual streets and buildings, substations and transmission supply lines from Bonneville Power Administration were damaged in the storm.
Damage did not all occur at once – after the initial several days, additional ice accumulated, frequently downing more trees that blocked travel lanes or re-damaged power equipment.
Does power restoration affect phone service?
Outage restoration work does not impact phone service. Some broadband companies may not be able to provide service without electricity.
How does LEC restore power following an outage?
Following an outage, crews must patrol thousands of miles of power lines to inspect for damage before re-energizing them. Each section of line must be visually inspected, which can take days to complete.
Once the lines are surveyed, vegetation management crews must remove any downed trees and linemen crews must repair equipment. This can include re-installing poles, running new, undamaged power lines, removing and installing new substation equipment, and installing new distribution lines to neighborhoods and homes. Each individual outage is unique and has its own restoration requirements.
Transmission lines serving the largest number of customers and geographic area are typically restored first to get power back on to the most possible members. Then substation equipment is adjusted to reach main distribution lines serving neighborhoods and commercial areas. Local distribution lines reaching smaller neighborhoods and businesses go next while secondary lines serving individual homes or businesses go last, as they’re dependent on the local distribution lines.
For more information, visit our Outage Restoration Process webpage.
Why hasn’t LEC undergrounded lines to prevent these types of outages from happening?
Currently, Lane Electric has more than half of our distribution system (754 miles of line) underground, which is significantly higher than the national average.
While underground lines are protected from wind, wildfires and tree branches, they are vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding. They are also more expensive to build and maintain. By comparison, it costs approximately 3-5x more per foot to construct underground power lines versus overhead lines. It would cost in excess of $600 million to bury the remaining overhead lines in our service territory. In order to avoid passing that cost onto our members, we continue to apply for FEMA grants to underground more of our system each year.
There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to overhead vs. underground powerlines. To learn more, visit https://laneelectric.com/programs-services/underground-vs-overhead-power-lines/.
Here is more information about our undergrounding progress since 1990: