Outage hits Denali Park, Healy businesses

Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2003

FAIRBBANKS (AP) A smoldering cross-arm between two power poles prompted Golden Valley Electric Association workers to shut down power to Healy and Denali National Park and Preserve for about two hours Monday.

About 450 Golden Valley Electric Association members, including hotels, restaurants and other businesses, were affected.

Era Helicopters General Manager Tim Cudney estimated the outage cost his company about $4,400 per hour. The business needs electricity for its pumps and could not fuel its three helicopters during the 4 to 5:55 p.m. blackout.

''We're just doing the best we can to reschedule our customers,'' Cudney said during the outage.

The affected power poles were on Healy Spur Road.

Some business owners questioned why GVEA could not wait until later at night to cut power.

Co-op spokeswoman Corinne Bradish said the GVEA did not want to take chances with dry and windy conditions.

''We were very lucky it held together until our crews got down there,'' she said.

Burning likely began after an insulator, which keeps the wire from touching wood, failed.

The two power poles each have a wire running across the top. A third wire runs along the cross-arms. If the smoldering cross arm had burned all the way through, it could have collapsed the two adjacent poles, she said.

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