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December Storm Racks Up A Substantial Bill

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Image Courtesy of Homer Electric Association
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Homer Electric Association has the final numbers on the costs of damage from a high wind storm that knocked out power to multiple communities on the south side of Kachemak Bay in late December.

HEA’s Joe Gallagher told KBBI after the storm there was a lot of damage to the electrical grid in those communities. Gallagher said there were trees downed on power lines and cross arms were damaged as well as insulators.

HEA Board Member Don Seelinger reported the repair costs to the Seldovia City Council Wednesday night.

He said maintenance costs were $131,800 and capital costs, which included repairing or replacing larger more expensive equipment, ran a tally of $284,200.

“How do we pay for this? There’s no insurance that covers it. [It] wasn’t declared a disaster. There’s no federal [or] state funds. It comes out of our budget funds for… actually a little bit of it will come out of 2015. The lion share will come out of 2016,” said Seelinger.

Seelinger said HEA regularly budgets for possible storm damage. On the bright side, he added, there were no injuries.

“With the mass of people that were working, with the hours they were putting in….they were tired wet and cold….HEA experienced no accidents,” said Seelinger.

About 150 HEA members lost power in Seldovia, the entire Village of Nanwalek lost power, and there were outages in Tutka Bay and Port Graham. Most people got power back within a week of the storm. 

Most of the power outages on the north side of Kachemak Bay were fixed within 24 hours. There were outages from Kenai and Soldotna all the way down to Homer.

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