Power back on in Tuluksak after two-day outage

Map of Tuluksak

Tuluksak is approximately 50 miles north of Bethel.

The village of Tuluksak regained power early this morning after a two-day outage. It required the help of the Alaska Energy Authority to finally get the lights back on.

The lights went out in Tuluksak around 4pm Monday afternoon, when its only generator stopped running.

“The water pump overheated and stopped,” says Willie Phillip.

Phillip, Tuluksak’s power utility manager, says the village received another generator engine just yesterday.

That engine came from the Alaska Energy Authority’s Emergency Response Program.

Sandra Moller is the Deputy Director for Rural Energy at AEA.

“And what we able to do is locate an engine for one of their generators to get it back online.  We diverted one of our remote maintenance workers who was in the area.  And we sent him over to Tuluksak,” Moller says.

She says the Emergency Response Program was implemented for emergencies just like this one …

“Typically for when a community has basically gone dark,” Moller says.

Phillip says the village’s backup generators were non-functioning as well, so the new engine was vital.

“So we got it online about 2 o’clock this morning or 2:30 or somewhere around there,” Phillip says.

He says after a few cold nights, Tuluksak residents were pretty happy to have the lights and heat back on.

“Calling, calling, calling me and my coworkers,” Phillip says.

But, he says, the power wouldn’t have come back on without help from community volunteers helping to transport and install the new engine.

The AEA may be able to help villages like Tuluksak with yet another program…

“The Rural Power Systems upgrade program.  We’ve just completed a six or eight month process of evaluating all power plants in rural Alaska,” Moller says.

She says Tuluksak and other rural villages in-need, may qualify for assistance through that program, pending legislative funding.