Trees caused HEA outages in Sterling

Birch trees laden with snow and ice will — as poet Robert Frost memorialized in his piece “Birches” — often “bend to left and right/across the lines of straighter darker trees.”

Frost was inspired, but for an electrical utility such as Homer Electric Association, trees bent or broken under a load of fresh snow are a danger to powerlines and a frequent cause of outages such as those that struck the Sterling area after Sunday’s snowfall.

HEA Director of Member Relations Bruce Shelley said the utility had “somewhere in the area of six to 10 power outages” early in the week, “mainly caused by snowload bending or breaking trees over our powerlines.”

Announcements on HEA’s Facebook page record Sunday outages for 23 HEA members on Homer’s Skyline Drive, and 47 members around Sterling’s Moose Range and Robinson Loop areas, and on Friday a 141 member outage near Funny River.

After taking care of these larger outages, Shelley said HEA crews spent a lot of time in Sterling on Sunday “mopping up” smaller outages. Though he’s only informed of power outages that affect more than 20 HEA meters, Shelley said he’d heard of many outages in Sterling affecting single homes after falling trees or limbs disconnected the lines carrying power into their homes. HEA is still responsible for individual outages because “it’s our equipment all the way to the meter-base, whether that’s on a post out in the yard, or attached to the house,” Shelley said.

HEA is required to keep the rights-of-way surrounding its powerlines clear of trees for a certain distance from the line, but trees outside this limit can also cause outages if they are tall enough to bend or break over the line.

“We don’t have authority to cut the trees outside the easement, but if you see a tree that looks like it’s going down, call us, and there’s a good chance we’ll take it out if it could hit the lines,” Shelly said.

If your home is without power, HEA’s website recommends first checking fuses and circuit breakers, seeing if your neighbors are also having outages, and calling HEA’s outage hotline at 888-868-8243.

Reach Ben Boettger at ben.boettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Supreme Court rules against forward funding for education, confirms limit on legislative power

Setting multi-year budgets in Alaska requires cash on hand, justices said

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
What to watch: Cheney in trouble; Palin eyes comeback

Sarah Palin jumped on a vacancy in the state’s congressional delegation as a potential springboard back into elected office

Assembly members participate during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to revisit gravel pit legislation

A proposed ordinance would overhaul borough code addressing material site permits

Campaign signs decorate the outside of Paradisos Restaurant on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Election 2022: Where, how, when to vote

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday

As measured by the CDC, dispensing rate reflects the number of prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons per year. While the United States’ dispensing rate peaked at 81.3 in 2012, the Kenai Peninsula’s rate was 100 or higher every year between 2001 and 2015. Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara.
Borough creates grant program to distribute opioid settlement funds

The Kenai Peninsula Borough will offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in… Continue reading

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer speaks during a press conference announcing the administration’s push for changes to the state’s election system on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, State of Alaska)
Just 2 Alaska lieutenant governor candidates say 2020 presidential vote was fair

Alaska’s lieutenant governor will oversee the 2024 presidential election

Kenai Peninsula School District Superintendent Clayton Holland stand near the entrance to the district’s Soldotna offices on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Academics, staff recruitment among district priorities for upcoming school year

The superintendent is ready to see KPBSD return to the district’s pre-COVID-19 academic performance

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Personal use harvest reports due Monday

Northern Kenai fishing report

Evelyn Cooley competes in the barrel race at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Aug. 12, 2022, in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music, magic, daredevils and pigs

Kenai Peninsula Fair brings an assortment of activities to Ninilchik

Most Read