UPDATE: Cooling fan failure causes power loss for over 66,800 Alaska customers
Last updated at 4:25 p.m. on Monday, July 18
A power outage turned the lights off for more than 66,800 customers in Southcentral Alaska and as far north as Fairbanks Sunday evening. Chugach Electric Association said Monday the outage was started by a failed cooling fan.
The outage started at about 7:07 p.m. when “units seven and six at Municipal Light and Power’s Plant 2 tripped off when a cooling fan failed,” Chugach Electric Association (CEA) said in a statement about the outage. The company said an incident such as this would normally not result in outages, but the Southcentral Power Project tripped offline as well.
“This led to the significant load shedding throughout the Railbelt,” CEA explained. “During load shedding, substation feeders are systematically opened to reduce system load and avoid a larger outage impacting significantly more customers.”
A total of 39,000 CEA customers were affected, as well as roughly 6,800 Homer Electric Association customers in Nikiski, Anchor Point and Homer, according to the company’s Facebook updates on the outage. Matanuska Electric Association reported 45 customers in Eagle River were also without power during the outage, as well as 265 along Knik-Goose Bay Road. Municipal Light and Power reported 6,700 affected customers.
In a statement on their website, Fairbanks-based Golden Valley Electric Association (GVEA) explained 14,000 meters were affected by the outage in Southcentral Alaska because the company was pulling power up from one of the utility companies in Anchorage.
“Over the past nine days, GVEA’s system handled three widespread outages, plus various smaller outages,” company officials wrote. “At the time of each of these large outages, GVEA was purchasing power over the Intertie from utilities located in south-central Alaska. When the Northern Intertie went down, our dispatchers had to stabilize our system and fire-up our generating facilities before they could work to restore power to those affected meters.”
The companies said power was restored to many of their affected customers before 8 p.m. Sunday.
Chugach Electric Association confirms around 37,000 customers in Anchorage were briefly without power Sunday evening.
Reports of the outage from residents in midtown, west and south Anchorage began flooding the Anchorage Police Department around 7:20 p.m. Within an hour, many customers reported restored power.
Chugach spokeswoman Julie Hasquet said some substations were out and the company was working to find the reason and restore power to the remaining affected customers.
To view current outages in your area, visit the Chugach Electric Association’s outage page on their website.
KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman contributed to this report.
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