The power and the phones went out Friday morning in Sitka. The outage began around 9:25 a.m., affected the entire city, and lasted a little more than an hour in most places.
Andy Eggen runs the generation systems for the city-owned electric utility. He said in an e-mail that the problem originated at the Blue Lake substation, when some old protective relays tripped open some circuits. They’re scheduled to be replaced as part of the ongoing Blue Lake expansion program. An outside expert will come to Sitka to troubleshoot the issue sometime next week.
In the meantime, the city is running on hydropower from Green Lake and from the Jarvis Street diesel plant.
The outage knocked Sitka’s land-line phone services out for the better part of the day. Heather Cavanaugh is a spokeswoman for Alaska Communications.
“We lost some of our local phone service and Internet service,” she said. “All our wireless services are up and running and it looks like we’ve been able to restore a lot of services.”
Cavanaugh said phone service was restored Saturday night. The exact cause of the phone outage was unknown.
“Any time things like that happen we take time to look into what is that root cause,” she said, “how can we prevent it from happening again, and that’s certainly something we’ll be looking into.”
There were no injuries or damage as a result of the outage. Power was restored to most areas by 10:45 a.m., but some isolated areas had longer outages.
The power outage also knocked Raven Radio off the air until about 10:40 a.m. Friday. We have emergency generators for power outages, and while the one here at the Cable House activated right on cue, the one at our transmitter site did not. General Manager Ken Fate says the problem was a result of some settings, which have since been corrected.