Letters to the Editor

Off-island problems led to power outages here | Letters | Dec. 3

PSE stated that heavy winds from last Monday’s winter storm caused trees and tree limbs to fall resulting in major transmission line outages on the Kitsap Peninsula as well as many distribution line outages throughout Kitsap County and Bainbridge Island. The mainland’s transmission line outages knocked out the power supply to Bainbridge Island substations.

In Kitsap County alone, an estimated 50,000 residents were without power, and 39,000 Kitsap residents – including about 8,500 island residents – were still without power until Tuesday evening.

This first winter storm event highlights the inherent reliability problems on our island caused primarily by: 1) having overhead power lines in heavily forested communities; and 2) the island’s geographic isolation located at the end of PSE’s grid. This isolation exposes us to the vulnerability of our electric power supplied solely by lines coming over Agate Pass.

If Bainbridge wants to improve energy reliability we need to: 1) motivate our local leaders to add natural gas or other sustainable clean energy sources to our island to add an independent layer of energy reliability; and 2) lobby PSE and local and state leaders to promote the undergrounding of transmission power lines to prevent wide-scale power outages.

It is important to note that Mercer Island with 10,000 residents, does not suffer the power outages as does Bainbridge Island, since Mercer has both natural gas as well as electricity.

Adding PSE’s planned 2013 transmission line loop within Bainbridge will not address the underlying problems causing power outages like those suffered last week.

Laurie Rice, member of RAiSE (Reliable and Safe Electricity)

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