By Sarah DuBeau
Special to the Homer Tribune
“Black Friday” came a week early for Kenai Peninsula residents, as the area was struck with a power outage that left both residences and businesses without electricity for most of the afternoon.
The outage occurred around 11:25 a.m., and lasted approximately five hours. It reportedly affected HEA’s entire service territory, covering some 32,000 meters, including the area south of Girdwood, Cooper Landing and Seward. According to Homer Electric Association, their Nikiski generation plant experienced a problem with a “piece of equipment that monitors fuel supply to the combustion turbine, causing the unit to trip offline.”
HEA said the impact of the outage was compounded by the fact that the Kenai Peninsula was not connected to Chugach Electric at the time. The peninsula was being served by the Nikiski plant, and the Bradley Lake hydroelectric plant. An HEA press release indicated that the damage at the Nikiski plant was severe enough to trip the Bradley Lake facility as well.
Earlier last week, a transmission line near Girdwood was damaged, leaving the Kenai isolated from Anchorage when the power outage occurred. That left Anchorage unaffected.
“Because of the power outage, we weren’t able to pump gas,” said a Petro Express Station employee. “By the time I got to work at 2:30 p.m., cars were lined up around the side of the building for 3-4 hours, waiting to get gas.”
Homer High School was unaffected by the outage until their back-up generator gave out. Teachers were required to escort students to their lockers or out of the building until the power returned.
“We really appreciate everyone’s patience,” said HEA Public Relations Coordinator Joe Gallagher. “We know we have a lot of consumers that rely on us, and we are just very appreciative of their understanding.”
HEA was able to restart its Nikiski generation plant and bring Bradley Lake back online by approximately 4:45 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Sarah DuBeau is a Homer High School student.
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