KNBA - KBC

3/3/15 - Tuluksak again without power

Mar 2, 2015

$600,000 need to fix problems caused by poor management, maintenance

Tuluksak residents are now on the backup to the backup electric generator. The state flew out a second generator over the weekend after part of the fan assembly failed Thursday, leaving the community without power for days for the second time in four months. Power was restored Sunday. Alaska Energy Authority Policy and Outreach Manager Emily Ford says the latest failure is not a complete surprise.

    

“Those emergency generators have a definite shelf life of only 3 to 4 months," said Ford. "So we need to actively work with the utility to find some long term solutions to provide the power with the power it needs.”

The tribally-owned utility has a history of problems. A week-long outage in November led to food spoilage. Ford says AEA is working with Tuluksak to find a way forward.

“The utility has had four generators burn out. Two are unsalvageable. Two need significant repairs," said Ford. "There are some changes that need to be made at the utility in order for them to provide long-term and stable power for residents of Tuluksak.”

AEA estimates it would cost 600-hundred thousand dollars to fix or replace equipment.  Tuluksak utility manager Willie Phillip says the company is saving and seeking funds to bring the system back to health. He attributes the problems to poor management and a lack of training in the past. Phillip says he’s been managing Tuluksak’s power since 2013.

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Anchorage is celebrating its centennial this year, but the area has been inhabited for centuries longer by the Dena'ina, who still live in the area today. KSKA's Anne Hillman spoke with Dena'ina historian Aaron Leggett about the area's past and its future.