Working to Combat the Threat of Wildfires

Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest have been increasing in frequency and severity over the last few years. We have enacted a number of measures to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading in our area.

Two of the most visible ways we are working on this is by adding equipment and removing trees. We are adding more and more re-closers to our system. Re-closers are pieces of equipment that very quickly de-energize wires without causing sparks.

We are aggressively managing vegetation around our electric system. We contract two tree crews year-round to trim or remove trees that are growing too close to power lines. We are also working on developing a mulching program. We plan to mulch in areas with thick vegetation under power lines. If you are interested in being placed on our mulching list or have a hazardous tree, please contact us at (503) 397-1844.

Moving power lines underground is another tactic we employ. Currently about 25% of our primary distribution line is underground. Installing underground lines is a costly venture, though. It costs more than three times as much as installing overhead lines.

In a worst-case scenario, we may need to preemptively shut off power to our customers if extreme weather threatens our ability to operate safely during fire season. This is known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff, or PSPS. If a PSPS is required, we will do everything we can to notify all affected customers and to minimize its duration.