SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands of people are still without power Wednesday following an unusual October snowstorm.

Outages began just before midnight and peaked at about 2 a.m. with 32,324 customers without power. More than 20,000 customers have power again as of 11 a.m. on Wednesday but 1,300 outage incidents remain.

Due to the amount of damage, Avista says some customers may not have power restored for two or more days.

Avista is giving customers tips on what to do when their power goes out and how they can help in the restoration process.

An Avista spokesperson said the company focuses on restoring power to critical infrastructure first, like transmission line and substations, and emergency facilities like hospitals. Once those are restored, crews can work to make repairs that can help restore power to large numbers of customers.

Customers can help in the restoration process by checking service equipment to identify any of the following.

  • An overhead mast that is bent and pulled away from the house, causing a wire to hang.
  • A bent mast broke the fitting where the wire connects to your electric meter.
  • A broken meter fitting caused an arc or burned meter socket.

Avista said these repairs need to be made by an electrician before they can safely restore power to a home.

If customers have received information that power has been restored in their area and their lights are still out, call Avista at (800) 227-9187.

How to stay safe during an outage

Avista said customers should treat all power lines as if they’re energized. You should stay away from any downed power lines and don’t attempt to remove limbs from downed or sagging power lines. Drivers should also refrain from driving over power lines.

If you see a downed line, call Avista immediately to report the location.

The city of Spokane said if you see a downed tree, you should call 311. 

Here are some other steps you should take when your power goes out:

  • Turn off all the appliances that were on before the power went out.
  • Unplug electronic equipment, including computers.
  • Leave a light or radio on as an alert when power has been restored.
  • Help Avista crews working in a neighborhood know which homes have power by turning on the front porch light.
  • Do not wire an emergency generator into a home’s electrical system, unless there is a disconnect switch to separate generated power from Avista’s distribution system. Backfeed into power lines could injure or kill a lineman working to get electricity restored.
  • Use a generator only to run specific appliances and locate it outside so poisonous carbon monoxide fumes do not enter the home.

Information on current outages can be found on Avista’s website.

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