A faulty switch appears to be the culprit in a power outage that has affected the entire Ketchikan Public Utilities system, as well as residents of Wrangell.
The outage started just after 4 p.m. Friday, and about a half hour later, 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 have isolated the faulty switch, so now KPU can fire up its diesel generators and start slowly 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.
McConnell says it could take up to an hour to get Ketchikan’s entire system back on line. He says the system will remain on diesel power until crews are sure the problem isn’t related to the Swan Lake hydroelectric power connection.
Downtown Wrangell’s power came on at about 5pm.
Wrangell Municipal Light and Power superintendent Clay Hammer contacted KSTK at about 5:45pm.
He said power should be restored throughout downtown Wrangell and out the road.
If people are still having trouble with their power, they should call the police department at 874-3304 and they’ll try to get someone out to take a look.