Power has been restored to thousands of interior residents after a major windstorm
Repair crews made significant progress fixing power lines hit by downed trees during a windstorm on Monday.
On Wednesday morning, the Golden Valley Electric Association had service restored to all but about 3,000 of the 30,000 members who lost power.
“As soon as we saw the magnitude of the wind and the damage that was happening, we mobilized all of our GVEA teams, then the interior contractor teams we work with, and we also asked for support from the Anchorage teams. “, said Meadow Bailey, Director of External Affairs and Public Relations of GVEA.
Bailey said the initial focus was on the more populated areas of Fairbanks, where repairs have brought large numbers of customers back online.
“And so, we remind anyone who is in a more remote location or part of a small outage to make sure you are prepared,” Bailey said. “We anticipate there will be members without power until Thursday of this week, and we recognize that is a long time for an outage.”
GVEA’s latest extended weather-related power outage was caused by unusually heavy snowfall and rain last Christmas. Bailey said this week’s equally rare strong summer wind outage is even worse in terms of impacts to power infrastructure.
“Our crews are reporting that the damage they are seeing is more severe than what we experienced in the December storms,” she said. “We are seeing more broken and downed lines than in December.”
Bailey said most of the trees that fell on the lines were growing outside the right-of-way, which the utility keeps clear. She warns people of the danger posed by trees on power lines and says that so far GVEA is not aware of any injuries.
“We are however concerned and have heard of quite a few close calls, and so we remind people not to try to remove trees from a line on your own, and I say that knowing that there has people who have been 36 or 48 hours without power and frustrated,” Bailey said.
Bailey asked customers to call the GVEA dispatch line to report power line outages and trees, then be patient until a line crew can get there.