Thousands Remain Without Power Following Tuesday Wind Storm

A power line pole lies across a fence after being broken in Tuesday's storm. Photo courtesy of Chugach Electric

There are still thousands of people without power in Anchorage after a huge windstorm hit Tuesday night. The bulk of them are customers of Chugach Electric Association. The CEO of Chugach, Brad Evans, says crews are working as fast as they can to restore power to the remaining 2,000 to 3,000 customers, including two schools, but it’s impossible to give an exact time when the lights will be back on. That’s because crews have a triage system for making repairs.

“We work on areas that have the most amount of people. If we have a large fuse that’s got a 100 homes on it and you have a house down the road that’s got six people on it, we’re going to work on the fuse that has the 100 people. Because if we restore the service there if might be the identical amount of effort for the six but we’ve restored the 100 people. So we try to prioritize it to get the most result out of the effort that we’re expending,” Evans said.

The September 4 storm knocked out power to 25,000 Chugach customers. On Thursday dozens of customers were lined up at the company’s headquarters to report their outages in person because they said they could not get through on phone lines. Evans says the company has around 20 crews working around the clock and will add an additional 7 or 8 crews Friday. He estimates power will be restored to the remaining customers over the weekend. Matanuska Electric Association officials said, as of Thursday they still have 700 customers without power. Anchorage Municipal Light and Power officials say 300 customers don’t have power.

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan has remained silent on the how the Municipality is handling the aftermath of the storm. He hasn’t said whether he’ll be asking the governor to declare the windstorm damage a disaster.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.