Lloyd Hemmert and his wife, Janice, clean up on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, after a pine tree was felled by hurricane-force winds on Tuesday, crushing the garage at their home on Downington Avenue in Salt Lake City. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Pam says she sometimes likes to go out to her car, turn on the ignition and the music on her iPod, charge her devices, get warm and pretend that everything is OK.
But she’s tired of pretending.
The Salt Lake woman, who asked that only her first name be used, is one of thousands in Utah still without power Thursday after a hurricane-level windstorm hit the Wasatch Front Tuesday. The storm caused thousands of dollars in damage and knocked out power for more than 180,000 people.
Pam said it was especially frustrating to see others get their power back mere hours after losing it, while she has had to throw out spoiled food, take “luke-cold” showers and try to dry her hair without power.
“I know the people up on the hill, the people that live up on the foothills, are kicked back in their nice robes just watching their TVs, their soap operas,” she said. “They got their electricity back two hours after it went out probably.”
According to Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Spencer Hall, she isn’t the only resident who feels that preferential treatment is given to the rich. And while he sympathizes, there is no substance to the claim.
“There is certainly no preference given for socioeconomic status,” he said. “We don’t restore the rich neighborhoods first and ignore the poor side. It’s something that every utility nationwide always gets that, and it’s just simply not true.”
And if some form nepotism is involved in restoring power, he certainly isn’t feeling the benefits.
“I don’t have power,” he said, laughing. “We don’t prioritize the spokesman for the power company.”
Restoring power after a windstorm the magnitude of Tuesday’s comes in multiple steps, he said. First comes damage assessment, so if a resident saw a Rocky Mountain Power vehicle drive past their house hours after the storm, that’s what it was doing. Next, the company works to repair the city’s “backbone.”
“The last couple days have been a lot of what we call backbone reinforcements, so fixing the substations, fixing the transmission lines, fixing the distribution lines,” Hall said Thursday morning.
Finally, the last step is restoring individual people’s power. Hall said Rocky Mountain Power has cut the number of people without power to around 60,000 and is making a “big push” Thursday to try and get the rest back online.
“We expect most people to be back online today,” he said. “There will still be a few going into Friday. But for the most part, we expect most people to have power by tonight.”
Rocky Mountain Power is planning to hold a press conference with the city later Thursday to update the number of people currently without power.
This story will be updated.
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News