Portland General Electric has scheduled a brief system-improvement power outage to downtown buildings, streetlights and traffic lights for Sunday, March 24, starting at 4 a.m. This is the second planned outage in downtown this month, and marks the final step needed to complete PGE’s multi-year Marquam substation project. The newly energized lines will add reliability and redundancy to the downtown grid, and create a platform to help support Oregon’s clean energy future.
On Sunday, March 10, PGE completed the first planned system-improvement outage, which lasted 56 minutes. For the March 24 outage, PGE again plans to restore power in less than one hour, as crews complete the careful sequence of steps needed to do the work safely.
Since November, PGE has been planning these outages to minimize disruption for downtown customers and the public. In recent weeks, crews practiced and rehearsed the physical steps needed to de-energize the grid before energizing the new underground cables, which run along Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest First Avenue to serve hundreds of downtown businesses and buildings.
The work was split between two dates to avoid overloading the system, ensure crew and public safety, and avoid unplanned disruptions to residents and businesses outside of the work area.
PGE has coordinated closely with the City of Portland, Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire & Rescue and other first responders on traffic plans, alarms and other public safety issues. Additional PGE security, contract security and Portland Police will be monitoring the downtown area prior to and during the outage.
Construction for the project began in 2017 and included building a new substation and upgrading underground equipment — some of it up to 60 years old — with the latest smart grid technologies. These infrastructure improvements will provide a more reliable and resilient grid to serve the downtown area and help reduce unintended power outages. It is one of many efforts currently in planning or construction to improve electric service reliability and resiliency for PGE’s 885,000 customers.