Yesterday’s windy weather put Alaska Electric Light & Power’s system to the test.
Company spokeswoman Deb Ferreira says despite mitigation efforts, power outages are an unavoidable fact of life in Juneau.
“We did a lot of tree clearing over the summer and we have redundancy in our lines that allows us to reroute and do some switching so that we can get power restored without having to repair the damage right away. So there are things that we are doing, but Mother Nature is Mother Nature,” Ferreira says.
Approximately 8:15 last night (Tuesday), a large tree fell on two power lines and a distribution line along Channel Vista Drive, putting the entire city and borough in the dark.
Ferreira says crews cleared the tree and power was restored in stages, with all parts of the borough back on by 9:35 p.m. The tree did not damage any equipment.
The area wide outage followed isolated blackouts throughout town during the day. Parts of downtown and all of Douglas were without power for less than an hour yesterday afternoon, after a tree fell on a power line out Thane Road.
Ferreira says the utility temporarily rerouted power from other parts of the system, while a crew repaired the damaged line. That outage occurred at about 12:15, and power was restored by 1 p.m. About 3,600 customers were affected.
A short time later at about 1:40 a second outage affected parts of downtown again, as well as Salmon Creek and Lemon Creek. Ferreira says it was caused by a tree branch that hit a power line. Crews were able to restore power from that outage just after 2 p.m. It affected about 1,400 customers.
Yesterday’s peak wind gust at the Juneau Airport was clocked at 53 miles per hour. There were also sustained winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour throughout the day.