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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