MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Recent utility vandalism impacts residents in Kitsap, King counties

May 4, 2024, 1:28 PM

Image: Comcast reported cable lines being damaged due to vandalism on Friday, May 3, 2024....

Comcast reported cable lines being damaged due to vandalism on Friday, May 3, 2024. (Image courtesy of Comcast/washington.comcast.com)

(Image courtesy of Comcast/washington.comcast.com)

Recent utility vandalism has impacted residents in Kitsap, King and Pierce counties. The crimes have affected consumers’ ability to access needed technical services such as the internet. It also could affect them in the future oif utility costs, especially electricity, rise due to the costs associated with fixing the damage done during the commission of these crimes.

Comcast: Vandalism caused Kitsap County service interruption Friday

Comcast disclosed on a company website Friday some Xfinity and Comcast Business customers in Kitsap County experienced an interruption to their services, which began early in the day when the company’s cable lines “were damaged due to vandalism.”

The website post included a photo of a severed cable line on a roadside.

A Comcast spokesperson said to The Seattle Times in an email Friday that the affected cities and towns included Bainbridge Island, Hansville, Indianola, Kingston, Poulsbo, Silverdale and Suquamish.

The company’s network maintenance crews initially waited for safety officials to provide access to the damaged lines. From there, technicians replaced the damaged lines to get customers back online. Comcast reported the issue was resolved by 5 p.m. Friday.

Comcast also reported in a similar company website post last month another cable issue as a result of vandalism. The company stated customers in Tacoma and several areas of Pierce County experienced an interruption to their services due to vandals damaging cable lines.

When events like this happen, the company has suggested to customers they check for outages or service issues at xfinity.com/status or the Xfinity app.

From 2023: Widespread vandalism in Seward Park leaves neighbors on edge

Customers to pay for $100K damage after King County equipment was ‘sabotaged’

KIRO 7 explained in a new story published this week that a vandal cut fiber lines near transmission towers in Renton on April 6. The lines are used for communication within the transmission system, according to Doug Johnson, a Bonneville Power Administration spokesperson.

This was the second attack on the company’s equipment, which took place a few blocks away from the first incident, last December Johnson noted.

“It is interesting they were so near one another and again four months apart,” he said to KIRO 7.

Last December, Johnson explained that a power line pole was cut in half.

“This was a deliberate attack,” Johnson said. “Both acts deliberately done in what we believe was an effort to disrupt power.”

The spokesperson also told KIRO 7 he doesn’t believe those involved were looking to steal any equipment, including copper wire.

“These deliberate attacks on equipment take line workers and other personnel off tasks and ratepayers’ money,” Covington district manager Stefan Schildt said to KIRO 7. “We are hoping anyone with information about who may have caused this damage will come forward and help bring that person or persons to justice.”

‘Why would you do that?’: Seattle University’s chapel another target of hateful vandalism

Families did not lose power in either incident, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be impacted.

“This hits the pocketbooks of anybody that pays PUDs, municipal electric utilities, or rural electric co-op in the Puget Sound Energy,” Schildt also said to KIRO 7. “We had to take staff off tasks. That cost money. These incidents cost us about $100,000 to repair and we have to recover those funds from somewhere and unfortunately, it’s going to be from our rate payers.”

Image: In cases of utility vandalism, King County power lines and equipment were “sabotaged” in two attacks, in a span of months, KIRO 7 has reported. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

Utility vandalism: King County power lines and equipment were “sabotaged” in two attacks, in a span of months, KIRO 7 has reported. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

Many customers will see their monthly bills increase in order to cover the total damage.

“Anybody who is served by a public utility district, municipal electric utility or a rural electric co-op in the Puget Sound area is affected by the costs,” Johnson shared.

KIRO 7 reached out to the King County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about both incidents and an agency spokesperson said they didn’t have details on a possible suspect or if both cases were connected.

Contributing: KIRO 7

Steve Coogan is the lead editor of MyNorthwest. You can read more of his stories here. Follow Steve on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here.

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Recent utility vandalism impacts residents in Kitsap, King counties