Bethel Experiences System-Wide Power Outage

Apr 11, 2018

The generators at the Bethel Power Plant.
Credit Courtesy of Lenny Welch

Update April 12, 2018 1:12 p.m.: Wednesday's brief, city-wide power outage was due to an accident in the field.

According to power plant Operations Manager Lenny Welch, workers were trying to replace a damaged electrical pole on Wednesday afternoon when they “had a little mishap.” A jumper wire slipped away from them and hit something it wasn’t supposed to, causing Bethel’s electrical system to automatically shut down. 

Update April 11, 2018 6:58 p.m.: According to the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative's Facebook page, all power in Bethel has been restored. The power company states that the outage began when personnel were conducting line operations and tried to replace a damaged pole.

Original story:

Bethel briefly lost power on Wednesday afternoon, and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative still isn’t sure why.

According to Lenny Welch, the power plant’s Operations Manager, the city’s entire electrical system went down around 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Welch said the system most likely experienced a problem “out on the line,” but he wasn’t a hundred percent sure what the cause was. As of 5:00 p.m., about 90 percent of Bethel’s power had been turned back on. Welch and his team have run into a weak spot in one of their circuit's breakers, and are still working to restore service to their final 250 customers downtown.