Story last updated at 2:52 p.m. Thursday, September 12, 2002

Power outage darkens HEA customers
By Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

Large portions of towns along the Sterling Highway and across Kachemak Bay were in the dark Saturday morning after a power outage blanked the entire Homer Electric Association service area.

The 8:56 a.m. outage was caused by problems at the Beluga Power Plant, located across Cook Inlet near Tyonek. The plant is operated by Chugach Electric, HEA's largest power supplier.

While the outage affected the entire HEA service area, from Sterling to Homer and across the bay, not every member was affected, said spokesman Joe Gallagher.

"Not every consumer lost power, but our system went into a 'load shed' to compensate," he said. "That's when you drop portions of your system off the power grid to make up for the loss of power."

About 9,000 members lost power, and portions of Chugach Electric's service area near Anchorage also lost power.

Gallagher said power was restored to most consumers within 30 minutes.

"We had the majority back on by 9:40 a.m.," he said. "Only a small number of consumers did not get back on line until about 10:40 a.m."

Chugach Electric is still investigating the cause of the outage.

"We're working with Chugach to make any possible changes to prevent it from happening again," Gallagher said.

In the event of an outage, contact HEA at 235-8551.

Chris Bernard can be reached at