Bethel, Oscarville, and Napakiak went dark for 10 to 20 minutes last night, and the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative is still not sure what caused the outage.
One of the plant’s generators tripped off around 9:51 p.m. last night and took the other two generators down with it. According to Lenny Welch, AVEC’s Bethel Operations Manager, the equipment involved in the outage was only about two years old and relatively new. He suspects that something out in the field may have caused the problem, like someone running into a utility pole.
Power was restored to the greater Bethel area by around 10:20 p.m. last night, said Welch. And while the outage did shut off power to the Ridgecrest water treatment plant, he said that the facility should have been up and running on backup power relatively soon after the incident.
Welch also advised that residents use surge protectors for their electric appliances to protect them in the event of any power outages in the future.