SELAH — Blame it on the birds again.
Pacific Power said birds caused the second significant power failure in a month in Selah, which disrupted schools, traffic, industry and government for much of the workday.
Service failed about 11:10 a.m. at the substation that serves the Selah area, leaving 6,160 customers without electricity. It was restored between 5:30 and 6 p.m. The city has 7,200 residents.
Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt said that several birds “got into a bad spot” at the substation, similar to another widespread power failure that lasted for seven hours in late February.
Bill Clemens, a company spokesman in Yakima, said the company has been working on a plan to address issues that arose from the previous power failure but that it has not yet been implemented.
“We’re doing everything we can to prevent further (power failures),” he said.
The power failures affected residents’ daily lives.
The Selah School District released all junior and senior high school students by 12:45 and sporting activities for seventh- and eighth-graders were canceled for the day.
But other schools remained in session for the rest of the day and a phone message from the district said high school athletic schedules were unchanged.
The first power failure was on Presidents Day, when school was not in session.
The city of Selah used several generators to provide power for city hall, police and fire departments, said Selah city administrator David Kelly. The generators also powered the city’s water pumps, so that residents still had water.
However, the generators did not provide full power and many employees were unable to use their computers, Kelly said.
Police set up traffic control at key intersections. Officials said intersections without traffic signals or traffic controllers should be treated as four-way stops during a power failure.