Storm Recovery Update from the Seattle-area Windstorm of Oct. 25-26

Tuesday: Your correspondent is on the road, and on a different time zone than the West Coast, so I won’t always be able to update this blog. For the latest on storm recovery updates Tuesday, please see our Washington State Twitter feed, @ComcastWA (click here). What follows are updates from Monday:
<crews on pole doing repairs

pole damage

Mid-Monday morning, Puget Sound Energy crews finished their magic and allowed us to enter the scene of fiber-optic cable damage. In one photo you can see crews on poles, rehanging fiber-optic cables.

6 pm update: Splicing has been completed of the severed fiber-optic cable on Mercer Island. We’re now deploying generators in smaller areas without power, and continuing to monitor and repair network issues when needed and able.

2:45 pm update: We’re continuing to work some pocket outages on the Eastside, as power comes up in those areas. meantime, we’ve strung new fiber-optic lines in the damaged area on Mercer Island that we were able to enter this morning. (see below for the history of Mercer Island repairs) With the fiber-optic lines in the air, we’re beginning the splicing that will restore service.

10:45 am update: We’ve received the all-clear on Mercer Island from Puget Sound Energy and look forward to working on restoring the network as described below.

Original post: Crews continue repairs Monday on windstorm damage from the weekend. In most cases, we’re working in places that power crews recently opened back up.

As you may know from previous posts after storms, the first people who can touch a power pole that’s been damaged are power crews; they restore electricity and make the area safe. After power crews work their magic, we and others with lines and equipment can move in and restore our services to customers.

On Mercer Island, storm damage was horrible, and a snapping pole not only cut electricity to many but also ripped our fiber-optic cables. As we wait for power crews to complete repairs, we’re ready to move in and start splicing. While obviously that damage cut power to many people on Mercer Island, other people on Mercer Island have had power in the meantime, and they’re frustrated. We understand, and we’re eager to make repairs.

We’ve heard that we may be able to access this area of Mercer Island at 10 a.m., or sometime  mid-morning; if that’s correct, we’ll be ready to pounce and begin splicing fiber-optic cables. As cables are spliced, services will be restored gradually.

There are a few other areas where power losses near homes have interrupted the network, and we’re following after power crews to get those networks up as well. In the meantime, when power does come back up, both we and you the customer can identify when the issue is damage to a house.

In 99 percent or more of the time, when your electrical service is restored, your Xfinity services will come right back up. In some cases, it’s good to perform a powercycle to clear the equipment. If your service is still not working, that could be because of storm damage that you, and therefore we, did not know about until now. And of course that’s very frustrating, because all you the customer knows is that you had to wait this long just to get power back up. We are grateful for your business and your patience after storms like this one. If your power is up but service out, you can call  1-800-XFINITY (1-800-934-6489). If you reach a recording saying we know you have an outage, then we know about it, but if not, this is a chance to report the problem.

You can follow repairs by Puget Sound Energy here, and you can also follow updates on our Twitter page, @ComcastWA.

Meantime, you can get another look at storm repairs through the eye of this  team on the Sammamish Plateau:

tree on lines

Before and after, Comcast crews making repairs in Auburn.

tech sawing tree

Before and after, Comcast crews making repairs in Auburn.

Here’s a photo from Issaquah of what our crews found at one location: a 75-foot tree fell over, its roots carrying one of our pedestals about 5 five into the air on its roots. storm 3

Sunday Storm Update Oct. 26, 2014

windstorm damage in Monroe

Power crews from Snohomish County PUD will work on restoring power to this area in Monroe, and then we’ll look forward to leaping on the area and getting services back up. Below is a picture from earlier today from some of the mess that power crews are still working on Mercer Island; this scene was near Mercerdale Park.

power pole damage on mercer island

The winds snapped this pole on Mercer Island in the Oct. 25-26, 2014 windstorm. Once the area has power restored, Comcast crews can start splicing fiber-optic cables at this location (by the time you see this, splicing will probably have started) Homes will come back over time as strands are spliced.

 

5 p.m We estimate that 20,000 customers remain out as power crews continue working on extensive, widespread wind damage, in the Auburn, Vashon Island, and Mercer Island, among other several areas. If you’ve been tracking what power companies have been posting, crews expect to be working through tonight and tomorrow.  

At the power company’s request, we’ve left part of an area of Mercer Island for safety reasons and with all the damage, do not know when we will be able to enter the area for repairs.

For updates when available, please follow us on Twitter. If power has been in your home a considerable time, you can reach out directly to @ComcastCares or call in 1-800-COMCAST. For updates on electrical repairs in many areas, you will also want to follow Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light or your other local provider.

1 p.m. Power crews are doing a great job restoring electricity to communities; we estimate that about 29,000 customers are without our service, most of that in the greater Redmond area but also in many other scattered areas. Obviously it’s frustrating if you are one of those customers. Redmond, Kirkland and the Pine Lake areas are among those most heavily affected by power outages. And then power crews are still grappling with huge damage on Mercer Island.

10 a.m.: added photos above of some of the damage on Mercer island that we could get to once power crews made the area safe. The estimated number of customers out has reduced to 42,000 as power crews restore electricity to areas.

9 a.m. Sunday morning, we estimate about 53,000 customers are without service. The vast majority of the time, it’s because power is out. 

To answer your first question, no, we have no idea why the windstorm hit right before a Seahawks game. What we do know is our crews are swarming many areas, including the larger Redmond area, which seems to have been the hardest hit.

Our crews are assessing and repairing damage. We say “assessing,” because in many places, we’re cheering on electrical power crews that have to go into these areas first. We wait until electrical crews have completed their repairs and make the area safe before we and other people with lines on the poles can move in and begin our work. At all times, the goal is to keep everyone safe.

For example, power crews are repairing damage from a pole that the winds snapped on Mercer Island. Once the power is on and the area secure and safe, we’ll start to splice the strands of fiber-optic cable and get service back to that particular area within Mercer Island.

We also know it’s aggravating when power to your home is back up, but not in surrounding areas, which can sometimes affect transmission of Comcast’s services. Please be assured our teams are out there and ready to pounce to restore service.

In 99 percent or more of the time, when your electrical service is restored, your Xfinity services will come right back up. In some cases, it’s good to perform a powercycle to clear the equipment. If your service is still not working, that could be because of storm damage that you, and therefore we, did not know about until now. And of course that’s very frustrating, because all you the customer knows is that you had to wait just to get power back up. We are grateful for your business and your patience after storms like this one.

 

Sharing Important News About Broadband Access to Important Communities

According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report, Asian Americans and Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States.  Comcast thus partnered with leading Seattle-area Asian American and Hispanic media outlets, sponsoring Back to School editions around the theme of technology access from the perspective of the two communities.

Comcast partnered with the Asian American newspaper, the International Examiner (IE) and Hispanic media outlet, El Mundo, to publish special editions in August and September.  Both editions linked current issues that are affecting their readers to technology access. The sections reached a combined 40,000 print readers across 15 counties and 100,000 online readers.

“The Comcast partnership has been extremely successful in getting the word out about the digital divide that exists,” said Travis Quezon, International Examiner Editor in Chief. “Our readers have been particularly receptive to the stories about how technology can empower people, such as the stories on girls and STEM education.”

Other features profiled local people impacted by and benefiting from Comcast’s community investment and highlighted the company’s community initiatives such as Internet Essentials and Digital Connectors.

Tacoma/Pierce Students Receive $13,000 in Comcast Technology Scholarships

3,scholarship recipientsComcast has awarded five Technology Scholarships to Tacoma-area students at the annual Elizabeth Wesley Merit Incentive Program ceremony, held at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.

Comcast, in partnership with the Tacoma Urban League, identified student applicants who expressed an interest in pursuing careers in technology and innovation.  Three students received $1,000 scholarships and two were awarded $5,000 scholarships.

One $5,000 scholarship recipient is Sharon Washington from Washington High School in Tacoma.

“I wanted to, again, express my appreciation,” wrote Sharon. “Thank you so much for investing in me, as well as my dreams.”

Comcast has supported the E. Wesley Program for eight years, both believing it’s important to understand the disparities in education for minorities communities and that together, we can do something about it.

“We appreciate that our Comcast scholarship recipients have expressed an interest in technology-oriented careers,” said Diem Ly, External Affairs Manager for Comcast, who spoke and presented the scholarships at the event. “We hope, like Sharon, this recognition gives them the encouragement and empowerment to pursue their dreams.”

Read more about the event and students Comcast awarded scholarships to:

http://www.southsoundtalk.com/2014/09/22/comcast-supports-local-african-american-youth-elizabeth-wesley-youth-merit-incentive-award-ceremony/

Yummmmm …. Asian Counseling and Referral Service Annual Gala

chef and event emcee

Top Chef Season 10 winner, Kristen Kish, jokes with event emcee and former King 5 reporter Owen Lei.

Enjoying food demonstrations on stage, and  linking ingredients and featured dishes to heritage and identity? That just makes the food taste better.

On Oct. 4, Comcast sponsored the Asian Counseling and Referral Service’s annual gala, known as the “Culinary Journey.” ACRS is the largest social service agency in the state serving the Asian Pacific American (APA) community. Held at the Bellevue Westin, 400attendees enjoyed cooking demonstrations and colorful commentary on stage from local foodies and chefs, including notable guest, Top Chef Season 10 winner, Kristin Kish.
Learn more at: www.acrs.org

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