News Releases

Sierra Pacific Employees to Assist with Restoring Power to Portland, Oregon Residents

Dec 14, 2006

Media Contact: Faye I. Andersen, 775-834-4822

Crews and Equipment to Leave Today

Sierra Pacific Power Company employees are answering the call from a Portland, Oregon utility to assist in restoring power to the area knocked out by devastating winds and heavy rain. 

Electric power was cut to 245,000 customers of Portland General Electric (PG&E) Thursday night, when hurricane force winds moved inland closing major roads, flooding lowland areas and knocking down trees and utility poles.  Approximately 30 percent of PGE's customers were without power overnight and the company expected many to remain without power through the weekend and beyond due to the severe damage to utility facilities. 

Sierra Pacific crews and operations experts from Reno and Carson City are expected to leave today and travel with their equipment to Portland to assist in the repair work.  They are expected to be working in Oregon about one week. 

"Because of the specialized nature of our work, utilities provide mutual assistance in times of disaster and we're happy to be able to help the people of Portland,"said Mike Smart, Reno-Tahoe Operations Executive. "We're also temporarily releasing some of our contract crews from their current work for us so they can join our employees in restoring power to the Portland area."

Smart pointed out that in the past Sierra Pacific has sent utility workers to restore power during other disasters, including devastating fires in southern California, earthquakes in northern California and after Hurricane Rita struck Florida in 2005.  He said Sierra's crews are especially well-suited for the work in Oregon since the company's equipment is designed for work in rugged terrain and employees are experienced in working in heavily wooded areas. 

With stormy weather approaching the Reno-Tahoe and northern Nevada area this weekend, Smart said the company weighed its own needs first to make sure its customers will not be adversely impacted while some employees are working outside the area.