Lights out: Heavy snows take down power across Peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Heavy wet snow and rain that blanketed the Kenai Peninsula over the weekend and into Monday knocked power out at thousands of homes and left utility crews scrambling to repair downed lines.

According to Joe Gallagher, Homer Electric Association spokesperson, a total of 129 separate outages were reported across their service area from Nikiski to Seldovia as a result of the storm.

HEA estimated that as of 5 p.m. on Monday, 9,562 individual members had been affected since the start of the storm late Friday. However, some members were counted numerous times because of multiple outages, mostly in the Kasilof area.

He said 20 outages were still being attended to as of Monday evening, and conditions reported by HEA crews in the field indicated that more were expected.

Gallagher said the snow weighed down on trees, bringing them into contact with power lines, and in many instances, brought the power line down to the ground, damaging equipment on the power poles.

Gallagher said crews were struggling to keep up and that some outages likely wouldn't be restored until some time on Tuesday.

Along with numerous scattered neighborhood outages, several widespread events affected the central Peninsula communities of Nikiski, Kasilof and Soldotna during the storm.

About 800 homes between Skyview High School and the intersection of the Sterling Highway and K-Beach Road in Kasilof lost power on Sunday during the day.

Several large trees had brought down the power line in the area and crews worked removing the trees and repairing the damaged lines.

Power there was restored there at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Around 7 p.m. on Sunday evening, about 1,200 homes in the Nikiski area from Bernice Lake north to the end of the Kenai Spur highway were knocked out due to downed trees, and power was restored at about 10:30 p.m.

The Holt-Lamplight area of Nikiski also lost power around the same time.

On Monday morning, about 120 HEA members members in Soldotna lost power at about 7 a.m.

Outages were also reported on the south end of the Peninsula, including the area between Tutka Bay and McKeon Flats.

Crews in the area found three spans of wire down on the ground and Gallagher said repair work would not be completed as of Monday.

Residents along Jakolof Bay Road in Seldovia lost power on Sunday too.

As soon as weather permitted, Gallagher said HEA crews flew to the area, restoring power on Sunday afternoon.

He said the Seldovia area was currently being served by the Gerry Willard Generation Plant.

Additionally, about 1,200 homes along the Old Sterling Highway, the south end of the North Fork Road and along the Sterling Highway from Blackwater Bend to Anchor Point, lost power on Sunday morning too. The outage started at 8:49 a.m. and was restored by 10 a.m.

To report an outage, call HEA's hotline at 1-888-8OUTAGE.

For more information on outages visit HEA's web site, www.homerelectric.com.

Dante Petri can be reached at dante.petri@peninsulaclarion.com.



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