The problem for dozens of neighborhoods and schools remains the same – they have no power.
Avista has turned on power for more than 80,000 homes and businesses in the last 24 hours, but there are still more than 100,000 waiting. Their estimate to restore all power is still at 3-5 days. As of now, they say, it’s not possible to pinpoint exact times for specific locations because of how widespread the damage is.
But, Avista does have crews coming in from out of state to help out. They should all arrive on Friday, so then they would have 65 to 68 crews working.
How does Avista prioritize their work? They first look at customers that include critical services like hospitals, police, fire operations, water, and sewer. They’re also restored critical pieces of infrastructure, like a switch pole, which is a pole that turns power on and off to an area.
Crews have been working around the clock, first with a 36-hour shift with an 8-hour break, and then 16-hour shifts with 8-hour breaks.
“Linemen are a rare breed,” says Eric Rosentrater, Avista’s electric operations manager. “It takes a certain personality type. The crew we saw today, they stood on a pole all night last night when the temperatures are down in the low 30s to high 20s. Even during the wind event, we had crews out working in the field. They are a very unique, very brave group.”
They say even if you don’t see a construction crew working in your neighborhood, they have folks working in the background on restoring power as quickly and safely as possible.