Saturday many Whidbey residents found themselves disconnected from the rest of the world.
At about 3:30 p.m., a high voltage power insulator failed on a Puget Sound Energy pole near the Twin Bridges in Mount Vernon, transferring voltage to Comcast’s equipment. This caused a fire that damaged Comcast’s fiber which feeds Whidbey Island and Anacortes, according to Jack Follman, public relations manager at Comcast Washington. Furthermore, it affected cell phone providers like T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T, depending on the area.
In an email, Follman wrote that restoration efforts were delayed because PSE needed to ensure it was safe to proceed, blocking access to the site. Additionally, he wrote in an email, the high voltage line crossed equipment which needed to be navigated through by hand, and they had to coordinate with BNSF Railway to ensure crossing the railway tracks was safe.
The outage ended approximately at 9 a.m. the following day. Andrew Padula, media engagement consultant for PSE, wrote in an email that the company is investigating the incident.
A similar incident occurred in 2020, though at the time PSE said it had been caused by a lightning strike.
Comcast is offering refunds to affected users, who can submit a quick application at www.xfinity.com/support/account-management/credits/outage/details.