High winds throughout the Pacific Northwest region triggered more than 150 outages on the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission system between 6:30 a.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday last week. By 6 a.m. Monday, however, all but 10 of those outages had been restored. Of those remaining, most were restored by noon on Monday.

According to Robin Furrer, BPA’s transmission field services vice president, the bulk of the outages were momentary, lasting less than one minute, but some lasted several hours. During a storm event, the majority of outages tend to be caused by trees or portions of trees falling into BPA’s power lines from off the right-of-way.

“As part of our mission to provide safe, reliable electrical service to our customers, we inspect rights-of-way in our service area for potential vegetation problems and remove any hazards,” Furrer explains. “We also try to identify trees outside our right- of-way that pose a threat to the lines, and our folks work with property owners to remove these ‘danger trees.’”

BPA owns and operates about three-quarters of the region’s high-voltage electric grid, which equates to about 15,000 miles of transmission lines, many of which run through forested areas. Not surprisingly, this is where the majority of the tree-related outages occur, according to Furrer.

BPA dispatchers and line crews worked through the night Sunday to pinpoint problems, reroute the flow of electricity to restore power to customers as quickly as possible and repair damaged lines. Some of the areas most affected by the outages were Libby, Troy and Yaak, Montana; the southern Oregon coast communities of Port Orford, Brookings, Bandon and Gold Beach; Tillamook, Oregon.; and Cathlamet, Grays River, Ocean Park and Chehalis in southwest Washington.