Officials blame birds for Selah power outages

Officials blame birds for Selah power outages
SELAH, Wash. -- A widespread outage that left more than six thousand people without electricity Monday is being blamed on birds.

Pacific Power said a power failure at the same substation three weeks ago was also caused by birds.

"We have a completely full fridge of milk and Hersheys and everything else that will probably not be good in the morning," said Tiffany Minton.

It's not a good day for Coffee at Tiffany's. Owner Tiffany Minton calls it déjà vu.

"My husband even said let's not stock the fridge because it might happen again," said Minton.

Two recent citywide power outages three weeks apart have turned business sour.

"It's very frustrating," Minton said. "I've sat here for an hour, no customers. We're going to lose hundreds of dollars this afternoon."

Other, much bigger businesses like Treetop shut down early Monday. No working traffic signals meant slow moving through the city.

Many of you asked Action News what was going on with the power failures. We took your concerns directly to Pacific Power to see what, if anything, can be done to put a stop to it.

"Are there any things in place now to protect against birds?" KIMA asked.

"There is bird protection within the substation. But we've never had this particular problem," said Pacific Power Spokesperson Bill Clemens.

Clemons said the birds penetrated the weaknesses in Pacific Power's safeguards. Twice!

"We're definitely evaluating how this happening and what we can do to prevent it in the future," Clemens said.

Many of you asked whether aging equipment is to blame; Pacific Power said no.

"It's been like 40 years that we haven't had a bird problem in this substation," said Clemens.

A problem that pulled the plug on thousands.

Like others here, Tiffany Minton closed up shop early, with hopes that this will be the last time she's left in the dark at least for a while.

Pacific Power says the substation that's been affected is inspected monthly.