Several Ketchikan residents and businesses were without power Sunday night through Monday afternoon after a transformer blew in the Hopkins Alley area. The outage occurred sometime after 5:30 pm last night. Andy Donato is Ketchikan Public Utilities’ acting electric division manager. He says, due to weight limits on the Hopkins Alley trestle, KPU crews were not able to access the failed transformer last night.
“We thought those load limits were in the area of 5000 to 6000 pounds. I’ve got a GMC Yukon, that’s 8000 pounds, so I couldn’t even drive that on there. There would be no way we could get our bucket trucks there to do the line work. We resolved we were going to see about availability of a man lift that could make the weight restrictions and get on to that today, so that’s what we’re waiting on. Then we’ll disconnect the transformer and then reconnect to an alternate source and power up those buildings.”
Donato says 19 customers, both homes and businesses, were affected. He says crews were able to restore power to a few customers by Sunday night, but most remained without power overnight. Donato says power was restored to the entire area a little after noon on Monday.
Donato says KPU was busy with other calls over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. On Thanksgiving morning, power was down in a portion south of town when an eagle struck a power line.
“And that didn’t cause too much trouble or disruption. Probably most noteworthy was Trident Foods. They were out of service. We got them reconnected, and we also recovered the eagle. We keep those birds and send them in with reports. We try to find those locations on the lines where these happen frequently and use some sort of avian deterrent.”
He says there are several methods of deterring birds from flying into lines or resting and perching on them. He says he is reviewing new methods that might work best in this area.
There was also an outage 14 miles north that crews were still working on Monday. The outage was reported Sunday morning. Donato says that problem is due to snow-covered tree boughs.
In the event of an outage, KPU asks customers to contact the Bailey Power Plant at 225-4011. If no one answers, it is likely crews are busy working to restore power.