Local News

Faulty switch blamed for systemwide outage

A faulty switch appears to be the culprit in a power outage that affected the entire Ketchikan Public Utilities system, as well as residents of Wrangell, on Friday afternoon.

The outage started just after 4 p.m. Friday, and KPU Electric Division Manager Tim McConnell told KRBD that KPU crews saw some smoke coming from the switchyard at Ketchikan’s Bailey Power Plant.

He says crews isolated the faulty switch, and then KPU fired up its diesel generators and slowly started bringing sections of the island back on line.

McConnell says the power load from Swan Lake that Ketchikan suddenly wasn’t using could easily have jolted the system in Wrangell, too, which could explain that community’s coincidental outage.

Swan Lake, run by the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, is connected to Wrangell and Petersburg by an intertie. However, Petersburg apparently was not affected.

According to KPU, all power in Ketchikan was restored by about 5:45 p.m.

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