SELAH, Wash. — Birds in a substation were again the cause of a power failure Friday in Selah.
The power loss, which began around 7 p.m., initially affected almost 4,600 customers, including some in Yakima. As of 9:30 p.m., 1,245 Selah customers remained without electricity, according to Pacific Power spokesman Tom Gauntt.
Gauntt said the utility was hoping to restore power to the remaining customers by 12:30 a.m. today.
Crews were working Friday evening to replace an insulator that was damaged by the birds, Gauntt said.
This is the third significant power failure this year in Selah linked to birds in the substation. Failures in February and March left residents without electricity for at least six hours and disrupted schools, traffic and local businesses.
“Selah’s had that issue,” Gauntt said of the birds. “I guess it’s some sort of rivalry between the crows and the Eurasian collared doves. They’re battling for territory apparently, and one forces the other toward the substation.
“A single bird making a connection between two wires can cause a good deal of damage.”
Friday’s failure temporarily disrupted play at Selah High School’s homecoming football game against West Valley. The teams continued playing despite the loss of field lights and the scoreboard until it became too dark to continue. When the power came back on, play continued and West Valley went on to win 38-7.
About 50 customers in Yakima also lost power about 7:45 p.m. Friday evening because of a downed power line, but that was unrelated to the Selah event, Gauntt said. There was no obvious cause for the line to be down and crews were working to repair it by late Friday evening.
• Information from the Yakima Herald-Republic archives was included in this report.