HEA tackles peninsula-wide outages

Members of Homer Electric Association had their work cut out for them this week as high winds sweeping across the Kenai Peninsula caused several power outages.

Crews with HEA worked to restore power to more than 1,200 members in Kasilof, Sterling and Soldotna throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, according to a release from the company. They were restoring power to about 250 residents in the Sterling, Nikiski, Funny River Road and Kasilof areas on Wednesday, according to the release.

The first to report a loss of power on Tuesday were about 248 members in Kasilof, who were later joined by another 639 Kasilof members on Kalifornsky Beach Road, according to the release.

Power has been returned to all the affected users, said HEA Communications Specialist Melissa Carlin in an email. The majority of the power outages were caused by trees being blown onto power lines, she said.

The release from HEA reminded residents to stay away from power lines that have fallen down and to remain inside their cars if a power line has fallen across a road.

“If you must leave the vehicle, jump as far away as possible with both feet landing on the ground at the same time,” Carlin wrote. “Do not touch the vehicle and the ground at the same time.”

Carlin also gave advice for what to do in the event of an extended power outage during the upcoming winter months. Heavy snow building up on power lines is a common cause of outages during winter, she said.

Having a wintertime emergency kit assembled ahead of time is useful because they can be used in the case of a long outage, Carlin said in an email. These kits should include food that does not require cooking, water, needed medication, forms of identification, blankets, flashlights and other first aid materials, she said.

“Homer Electric crews will work hard to restore power, but having a winter survival kit on hand is a smart idea,” she wrote. Those who have alternative heating sources in their homes should know how to use them in case of an outage that lasts longer than expected, Carlin said. These include fireplaces, propane space heaters and wood-burning stoves. However, it’s important for people to make sure wood-burning heating sources are vented and smoke detectors are working before using them, Carlin said.

Portable generators are also a good source of alternative heat if homeowners have them on hand, she said.

“Be careful not to overload the generator,” Carlin wrote. “Use appropriate extension cords that can handle the electric load.”

To report fallen power lines, residents can either call HEA or 911 and authorities will notify the company, Carlin said in an email. Residents can follow HEA for updates about power outages by finding the company’s Facebook page, according to the release.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com

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