About 3,000 homes and businesses on the Kenai Peninsula were without power Wednesday evening after heavy winds damaged area transmission lines.
“The majority of those are located in Nikiski/North Kenai,” said Homer Electric Association spokesman Joe Gallagher.
Gallagher said there was a strong possibility that it would take until Friday to restore all power.
“We’re still seeing a few outages come in on a regular basis,” Gallagher said.
The outages remaining Wednesday night were mostly around South Miller Loop, and farther north, although a pocket of homes from Seldovia to Jakolof Bay was also without power. The Nikiski outages began Tuesday night.
Gallagher said there was lots of damage and lots of wire on the ground. Wednesday night, crews were focused on getting power restored at Nikiski North Star Elementary and Nikiski Middle-High School.
“That’s a priority for us,” Gallagher said.
The utility recruited extra lineman to work on the outages, including bringing some down from Anchorage.
“We almost doubled the amount of lineman that we normally would have on an outage in order to get this as quickly as possible,” Gallagher said.
As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, outages were still being reported, and the wind was forecasted to continue, Gallagher said.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough announced Wednesday afternoon that a shelter was set up at the Kenai Armory on South Forest Drive for those needing a warm place to sleep. The shelter planned to stay open throughout the night, and likely Thursday night if outages continued.
Temporary warming stations were also open at the Kenai and Nikiski Fire Stations, according to Eric Mohrmann from the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management.
More than 5,000 homes and businesses lost power in the outages.
Seldovia lost power Wednesday afternoon, but HEA was able to restore power to most customers using backup generators. More than 200 customers in the Jakolof Road area near Seldovia remained without power Wednesday evening.
Wednesday’s outages were mostly concentrated between Sterling and Kasilof, as well as along Kalifornsky Beach Road and in Nikiski.
The Sterling outage, which affected 3,800 customers, was a challenge. Power was restored and went out multiple times.
“That outage was a difficult one today,” Gallagher said. “It actually went out two or three different times.”
The city of Kenai also lost power from about 3:15 a.m. when the Marathon substation went offline until around 9:45 a.m.
Nikiski, Kenai and Sterling schools were closed due to the loss of power, and Kenai Peninsula College also shut its doors for the afternoon, with plans to re-open Thursday morning.
According to HEA, people should not try to remove trees from power lines on their own. Anyone who is without power or spots a down line should report it to Homer Electric at 1-888-868-8243.
Molly Dischner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.