Story last updated at 6:48 p.m. Thursday, December 26, 2002

Power outages darken area as snow downs lines
by Carey James
Staff Writer

While this week's weather has yet to rival last year's holiday storms, which took out power to hundreds for days, the weekend's warm, wet snow kept HEA crews working hard repairing snow-snapped lines.

HEA spokesman Joe Gallagher said Monday that crews responded to several outages over the weekend, most caused by the heavy snowfall Saturday and Sunday.

The first outage, which knocked out power to 362 homes and businesses in downtown Homer, was not weather-related, however. The outage occurred around 5:50 p.m. Friday and took out power to buildings east of the Best Western-Bidarka and south of Pioneer Avenue. Some of the homes got power back by 8:40 p.m., while others were in the dark until around 11 p.m., when crews were able to locate the faulty underground cable and repair it.

Sunday morning brought a new rash of power outages to the Homer area. Many in the Diamond Ridge area lost power around 6 a.m. Sunday due to the heavy snowload snapping the lines. Power was restored an hour later.

The largest outage Sunday was to residents east of Greer Road on East End Road, including the villages of Voznesenka and Kachemak Selo. Some 600 customers were without power from 8:20 to 10:35 a.m. due to a downed power line.

Residents on Greer Road had a second snapped line to contend with Sunday evening. The Homer Volunteer Fire Department was alerted to a downed line around 10:30 p.m. that was arcing and causing a small fire. Volunteers stood by to make sure the area was safe until HEA crews were able to respond.

Residents in the area of the end of Skyline Drive were without power from around 11:45 Sunday night until 5 a.m. Monday. Later that morning, the Belnap subdivision suffered an outage around 7 a.m. that lasted less than two hours.

Gallagher said HEA attributes most of the outages to the heavy, wet snow, and with more snow in the forecast over the holidays, crews and staff will be on standby to respond to any new outages.

This weekend's outages were minimal compared with last year, when a large snowstorm and high winds sent hundreds of beetle-killed trees into the power lines. The storm was followed by a drop in temperature, and many were left without electricity during Christmas.

HEA reminds people to call 1-800-478-8551 immediately if they see a downed line, and to stay as far away from the line as possible.

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homer