PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While crews have been working nonstop to restore power across the region, thousands still remain powerless more than a week after a winter storm brought snow, ice and freezing rain in Oregon.
After restoring power to more than 14,000 customers on Saturday alone, PGE said 21,770 customers in eight counties remained without power as of 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The company added that about 3,000 people will continue working “24/7” to restore power to the remaining customers.
Still, others may not have power again for another week, according to PGE.
Marijuana producer Adam Teuscher said his cannabis business is on the “brink of disaster” after 11 days without electricity.
Teuscher, whose business is in unincorporated Canby, said his plants can only live so long without light and although he has a 7500-watt generator providing life support, it’s not enough to sustain things in the long term.
“It’s kind of a tough pill to swallow,” he said.
PGE improved its website to offer customers a better idea of where crews are working and added a new online map for customers to get more information on estimated restoration times. Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO, said the site now shows more accurate estimation times.
Officials said PGE employees are working around-the-clock. Now that all the substations are operating, PGE crews are going house to house and area by area restoring power to the thousands still waiting.
“It’s like pictures you see of hurricanes in the southeast, where the system is entirely blown down,” PGE’s Steve Corson said.
Officials say the level of damage the storm brought to the region is historic, knocking out power to more than 350,000 residents at its peak and killing five people, including four who died from carbon monoxide poisoning as they tried to stay warm.
“I was down in Marion County near Silverton yesterday and talking with some of the line workers out there,” Corson said. “They told me it’s easily the worst they’ve ever seen.”
Corson says that even as they’ve restored power to more than half a million Oregonians, more outages have continued to spread.
“There’s a location where there’s just pole after pole down, transformers lying on the ground — it’s tough spot.”
PGE says restoration will take longer due to significant destruction at thousands of locations and challenges reaching the areas they need to restore.
“We don’t have a specific time frame and we understand how frustrating that is.”
The Associated Press contributed to this post.