Outage darkens Soldotna

Posted: Friday, April 05, 2002

Much of downtown Soldotna lost power Thursday afternoon for about 90 minutes, giving some businesses an unexpected break.

Homer Electric Association spokesperson Joe Gallagher said an underground power cable failed, affecting about 300 customers along the Sterling Highway corridor from Funny River Road to Tern Road.

"The outage occurred at 1:20 p.m. and affected both commercial and residential consumers," he said. "It was caused by an underground cable failure near the Wells Fargo branch."

Wells Fargo Manager Kathy Gensel said she saw the manifestation of the outage from the source.

"All I know is that our transformer door blew out and started smoking," she said.

Gallagher said this was a direct result of the power failure.

"That's where it happened," he said. "When a cable fails, it burns."

Just up the highway, Johnson Tire Service said it only experienced a brief outage.

"We only had a short flicker," said Jessica Townsend, who was working when the electricity went out. "It went out and it came right back on."

Gallagher said HEA crews were on the scene immediately to assess the situation and reroute power flow around the disabled line. They had full power returned to all affected by 3 p.m.

"We were able to isolate the problem and reconfigure the system to bypass the failed cable," he said.

Gallagher said the cause of the power failure was unknown, but that crews will return today to determine the reason for the outage and to make any preventive measures deemed necessary.

He was unable to say whether traffic would be affected.

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