Dear PenLight Member,
I want to personally thank you for your support during the winter storm this past week. With accumulations of up to 29 inches in some areas, the snow that blanketed PenLight’s territory along with the freezing rain that followed was unprecedented. Your continuous support and patience throughout the storm is greatly appreciated.
Peninsula Light strives to provide the most reliable electric service to our members, but there are times when nature has other plans. Prior to any storm, our Operations department makes preparations to position the utility to immediately respond where needed. When the storm hit Friday afternoon, all crews were on duty and ready to work when the first storm-related outage came in at 5:56 pm. In addition to the efforts of PenLight’s crews and employees, we called in contract crews from Michels Construction, Asplundh, Salish Construction, and Clark County PUD to assist in restoration efforts.
The storm itself was complicated and demanding to fight. Countless fallen trees not only pulled down our lines and broke our poles but they also blocked our access to the roads we needed to enter in order to fix the damage. At the height of the storm, we lost both transmission feeds from Tacoma Power, rendering every member of PenLight without power. Tacoma Power owns the transmission lines that supply power to PenLight’s power grid. Our PenLight crews worked in tandem with Tacoma Power crews to determine the cause and restore power as quickly as possible. Additionally, in the face of the brutal storm, our system advancements performed admirably. We have made significant investments into strengthening PenLight’s power grid, including undergrounding power lines, installing tree wire, and implementing an advanced automated distribution system. The combination of these advancements helped us avoid countless additional outages and greatly diminished the weather’s negative effect on our system.
Throughout the storm, we were focused on communicating as much information as possible to our members. Due to the magnitude of this storm, PenLight made the decision to manage our social media channels through a matrixed approach, meaning we had multiple employees throughout different areas of the utility managing different aspects of social media. This approach ensured that our members received the most accurate and up-to-date information as quickly as possible. It also allowed us the ability to give one-on-one attention to our members when needed.
After every storm or major outage, PenLight staff performs a thorough de-brief to evaluate the utility’s overall response and identify areas of improvement. The lessons we learn through the debriefing process are then used to make continuous improvements to better serve you – our members. This storm is no different. The improvements we implement as a result of this storm will help to mitigate the effects of future weather events on our system.
In closing, I would like to say that the most important aspect of any storm response is you, our membership. Peninsula Light members are fantastic! The amount of support and encouragement that we received throughout the storm was incredible and it meant so much to our employees, especially our crews. The community as a whole truly rallied around us during this storm. Individual members and businesses alike put aside their storm-related problems and took the time to help our crews with food and moral support.
On behalf of the Board of Directors, the entire PenLight staff, and myself I want to express my sincere appreciation for the unyielding support we received. Whether in the form of a hot meal or cup of coffee for our crews, or a simple note of thanks, it all means the world to us. We are proud to serve you as your electric power cooperative.
Jafar Taghavi, CEO