An old TV commercial for an antacid once asked heartburn sufferers, “How do you spell relief?”
For thousands of western Washington people left in the dark by winter storms, the word is “p-o-w-e-r.” And it took more than a couple of Rolaids to deal with it all.
Normally, we flip a switch and the lights come on. We think nothing of it until a storm knocks out our power. Then we realize how important electricity is to our everyday lives.
The Pacific Northwest periodically experiences heavy snow, ice storms and high winds, but generally not all in the same week. That is exactly what happened a couple of weeks ago, and more than 400,000 customers lost electricity, including many who had their lights come on — only to go out again.
On Jan. 18, people woke up to anywhere from eight to 18 inches of snow and 150,000 Puget Sound Energy customers lost power. PSE crews had restored electricity to all but 15,000 customers when an ice storm hit later that day, with outages surging to 280,000. Then, as power was coming back on, high winds hit the Puget Sound region and outages struck again. The series of storms kept some PSE repair crews in the field around the clock for five days.