1,000 still without power after heavy snow

Alaska, News, Print, Uncategorized

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.

After heavy snow fell on the peninsula for over two days, about a thousand residents — mostly in Nikiski — are still without power, some for more than 48 hours. Homer Electric has pulled in additional crews and support to bring power back to affected members.

There are approximately 1,000 members without power, as of Wednesday, Bruce Shelley, director of member relations with Homer Electric, said. On Tuesday, there were about 3,100 members without power.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 65 active outage cases affecting 1,255 meters were being worked by Homer Electric’s Operations Dispatch Center. More than 90% of these cases are in Nikiski.

“It’s very devastating,” Shelley said. “Trees are so heavy-laden because of the snow.”

Shelley said their focus is in Nikiski, where they are still receiving numerous calls about trees arching and laying on lines. Shelley said they are hoping to bring power back to a “good chunk” of affected members by Thursday.

The longest running outage is on the Fisherman’s Road area of Nikiski, where power has been out since 4 a.m. Monday. The area has extensive damage that a crew will be addressing Wednesday afternoon, Wednesday’s Facebook update said.

The largest outage is also in Nikiski affecting 129 meters north of Halbouty Road. Homer Electric’s Wednesday Facebook post said two crews will be working in the area Wednesday afternoon.

Carlos Tree Service has four rotating crews working the hardest-hit areas of Nikiski, the Facebook post said, where they are removing trees ahead of the crews to facilitate the restoration process.

Homer Electric has pulled all crews from Homer and contracted additional crews to tackle the outages. The Dec. 3 press release said the Homer Electric staff and crews are working around the clock to restore power to all members.

“We’re working 24/7,” Shelley said.

While the forecast calls for decreased snowfall there is still a risk of outages caused by snow shedding off power lines and trees. Shelley said high winds are also expected this week, which could cause other problems for the power company. Trees bent by heavy snow could fall in high winds onto power lines, potentially causing more outages. Shelley says residents need to brace themselves.

The outages began Sunday evening when heavy snow loads came down on the company’s northern service area. Most of the outages were caused by heavy snow weighing down on power lines and nearby trees, the Dec. 3 release said.

For residents who have been without power, Homer Electric encourages they seek safety and comfort.

“Whether that means purchasing a generator or staying at a family or friend’s residence, please prepare your family with the basic needs and keep emergency supplies during winter storms,” the Dec. 3 release said.

Residents who want to stay up to date on outage notifications can visit Homer Electric’s Facebook page.

The Outage Hotline, 1-888-8OUTAGE (1-888-868-8243), is directly monitored by Homer Electric’s operations department. General questions, contact HEA’s Member Services Department at 1-800-478-8551.

For additional information, please contact Bruce Shelley at 907-283-2324.

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