Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:46 PM on Wednesday, November 16, 2011

HEA restores power to some areas, continues working on others



STAFF REPORT

Homer Electric Association crews have been working hard to correct power outages members began experiencing Saturday.

Wednesday morning, HEA estimated more than 5,000 homes and businesses in parts of Nikiski, Kenai, Soldotna, Kasilof, Sterling and Funny River did not have power due to strong winds that hit the system hard and new outages that were reported as the day progressed.

"The strong winds are continuing to hit the area this morning and it is likely additional outages will be occurring throughout the day," HEA announced in a press release issued at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Wind and snow are to blame for outages on the southern peninsula, which began in areas around Kachemak Bay Saturday morning, said Joe Gallagher, HEA spokesperson, Sixty-eight homes in the village of Nanwalek were the first to lose power; with 14 in Halibut Cove and 235 in and around Seldovia affected later in the day.

Winds prevented crews from responding to the outages by helicopter Saturday and Sunday. The option of taking a boat across the bay also was ruled out as a result of stormy conditions.

Heavy snowload on power lines appears to have caused an outage along West Pioneer Avenue and lower Main Street in Homer, as well as out the Sterling Highway to West Hill at 4 a.m. Monday morning. It impacted 477 homes and businesses. An HEA crew was able to get the power back on at 6 a.m. Monday.

Approximately 4,115 HEA customers, including some on the North Fork Road, experienced a brief outage at 10:48 a.m. Monday when HEA's supplier, Chugach Electric, lost power to its Beluga Power Plant. That required HEA to help balance the difference between the amount of electricity that could be generated and the demand from families and businesses on the peninsula. By noon Monday, power had been restored.

HEA urges taking precautions to protect sensitive electronic equipment and a reminder to stay away from any downed power line. HEA members without power are asked to call the outage reporting hotline. Anyone seeing a downed line should leave the area and report it to the outage reporting outline, also: 1-888-868-8243 or 1-888-8OUTAGE.

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