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High Winds Kill Power on Kenai Peninsula

Homer Electric Association

The National Weather Service issued a high wind warning Tuesday evening and that prediction was fulfilled. Joe Gallagher with Homer Electric Association said HEA members across the peninsula started losing power around 10:30 Tuesday night. 

“Trees take a beating and are uprooted and fall directly into the power lines or they are swinging about and come into contact with the line. If it’s a strong enough contact the fuses blow and the result is a power outage,” said Gallagher.


Gallagher said some trees have forced power lines onto the ground.


Forecasters predicted 50 to 60 mph winds around Kachemak Bay with gusts as high as 75 mph.


HEA members along the Southern portion of Kachemak Bay lost power in: Tutka Bay, Seldovia and Nanwalek. There were outages in the Homer area, Clam Gulch, Soldotna, on K-Beach Road near Kenai and Soldotna and off the Sterling Highway between Soldotna and Sterling.


Stu Schmutzler on Ohlson Mountain Road was watching a movie when the power went out. Schmutzler has a generator he could’ve used but he chose to wait for HEA’s power lines to be restored. 


“[We] turned all the electricity off. We didn’t need to use up the batteries just for fun. We still had some propane lights out and about. We lit those up to get around and just went ahead and went to bed last night,” said Schmutzler.


Schmutzler’s power came back on around 11:30 Wednesday morning. His power was out for 13 hours. He says that Tuesday night’s winds were some of the strongest he’s ever felt in that area.


“I was pleased to see that we woke up in the same place that we went to bed last night. It was a screamer,” said Schmutzler. 


Gallagher said most HEA members would get their power back on Wednesday.


“The crews are faced with a big task. You have to get the trees off the line. The line has to be put back up and also there’s also damage to cross arms and insulators and things like that,” said Gallagher.


Seldovia, across the Bay from Homer, faces a longer wait. Gallagher says the city’s electrical grid took heavy damage Tuesday night.


“Reports we’re receiving from folks who live in Seldovia are telling us there are a lot of trees down [and] a lot of damage to the wire,” said Gallagher.


Gallagher said depending on the extent of the damage customer’s on the other side of the Bay could be waiting a day or two for the lights to come back on. He cautions peninsula residents to never touch or even go near downed powerlines.