ASHLAND, Ore. — A major natural gas outage in the Ashland area remained ongoing by late Wednesday morning, with utility company Avista reporting that it had identified the cause of the issue, if not a quick solution.
"Avista crews are on-the-ground in Ashland, Ore. this morning as they work to restore natural gas service to nearly 4,800 Avista customers who lost service on March 19," the company said in a statement.
According to Avista, the outage began due to "required and routine valve maintenance within the pipeline that unexpectedly restricted the flow of natural gas to customers."
The utility company said that it has brought in Avista and contracted crews from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, plus crews from Northwest Natural in Portland to help restore service.
"Through a mutual aid agreement where utilities can request and access support from other utilities, Northwest Natural’s support has added 10 service personnel to the 25 already working to restore natural gas service," Avista said.
However, restoring service requires that crews go to each individual residence or business to "relight" the natural gas. According to Avista, crews will be working on relighting until 11 p.m. tonight, and will resume tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.
If you are a customer affected by the outage, check out the information from Avista below regarding what to expect during the relighting process:
- Service personnel moving from property to property shutting off the natural gas meter, for the safety of customers, communities and employees.
- Service personnel moving from property to property to initiate the relight process.
- The relight process involves a service person knocking on a door and entering the property when the resident or business representative is there. All Avista personnel will have identification.
- Once relit, the service person will check the appliances in the residence or business.
- If the resident or business representative is not there, the service person will leave a card on the door, inviting the customer to call Avista so we can come back to relight.
- Customers do not need to take any action with their appliances at this time and should not relight their natural gas service on their own.
Avista said that crews will begin by restoring service to "critical infrastructure" like hospitals or care facilities, then move on to densely populated areas before reaching more rural areas. The company expects to have all service restored by the end of the day on Friday.
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