The Bonneville Power Administration’s main power feed used by the Lane Electric Cooperative from Springfield will be restored ahead of schedule Thursday to areas affected by the Holiday Farm Fire.
To make the switch from temporary measures in place after the fire, Lane Electric was planning on a 2:30 p.m. Thursday power outage for the area.
A host of variables including weather, fire behavior, air quality and road closures had the BPA planning to have the lines restored in early November.
“The weather eventually worked in our favor and had a positive impact on both the fire and air quality,” said Dale Coulombe, BPA district operations and maintenance manager for the Eugene district. “Our crews did an outstanding job and took advantage of every opportunity to push ahead, which resulted in an earlier restoration than we initially anticipated.”
Temporary measures were implemented in the aftermath of the Holiday Farm Fire when Lane Electric brought in a 2-megawatt generator.
On Oct. 6, the Corps of Engineers, BPA, Lane Electric and Petersen Cat worked to “island” power from the Cougar Reservoir dam generating station to provide a more stable, constant and reliable source of electricity to the McKenzie River area than the generator. Islanding is when a utility provides local power, unattached from the regional grid when power lines are damaged, degraded or destroyed.
"We are working around the clock to restore power to our members in the aftermath of this unprecedented wildfire," Debi Wilson, Lane Electric's general manager, said. “It's group efforts like this that make our community so strong.”
There were 123 customers currently without power in the fire-affected area, according to the Lane Electric Cooperative outage map.