After a week without power, the lights in Tuluksak came back on Friday evening.
Some families lost hundreds of pounds of meat and fish due to the extended outage during unseasonably warm weather. The community of more than 400 located upriver from Bethel lost power earlier this month.
“Well it feels good, power back on, everyone feels good they have their power back on,” said Tribal Council President Peter Andrew. The most important thing has getting their freezers cold.”
The Alaska Energy Authority sent out an emergency generator after mechanics saw the community’s existing units could not be fixed quickly.
Emily Ford is the Energy Policy and Outreach Manager at the Alaska Energy Authority.
“This is intended to be more of a short term fix, and not a long term fix,” Ford said. “We were able to restore power to the community to serve that immediate need. But there will need to be long-term solutions to replace and maintain existing infrastructure.”
Andrew said he and the tribal council will have conversations with regional organizations about that long-term fix and whether they want to pursue becoming part of the Alaska Village Electric Coop.
The utility is currently owned by the tribe. Andrew says he prefers to buy a new generator over fixing the old ones.