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CoSevere Weather Conditions Caused Multiple Power Outages throughout the Copper Basin District

Severe weather struck the Copper Basin District during the week of December 4, resulting in multiple power outages beginning in the early hours Wednesday morning, December 6, and lasting through roughly 7:30 a.m., Saturday, December 9.
Wet, heavy snow, coming down in large quantities, was to blame for all but one related outage. Heavy snow settled on tree branches, weighted them down and forced them into CVEA power lines. In other cases, weight caused entire trees to bend or break and fall into the lines, breaking them and leaving power lines on the ground, or causing damage to cross arms and other equipment.
Crews set to work restoring power Wednesday morning, but soon there were additional outages affecting almost every area of the vast district spanning from Pump Station 12, out to Kenny Lake, up the Tok Cutoff, and over to Caribou Creek on the way to Anchorage. The team realized there were hundreds of trees on the line that would need to be cleared before power could be restored. Six extra line crew members were dispatched from Electric Power Constructors, in Anchorage, to assist CVEA's three man crew with power restoration efforts. As severe weather continued and additional trees fell on the line, another six were dispatched from Hotwire Electric, also out of Anchorage, Friday. Once weather allowed, a team patrolled the line via helicopter to assess the situation and provide locations of obstructions or damage on the line, allowing a better view and saving the crews much needed time.
Crews worked around the clock throughout the duration to clear the lines and make necessary repairs so lines could be re-energized. As lines were cleared, CVEA members were brought back online systematically in sections based on the population base and severity of the situation in the area. All members were restored as of 7:30 a.m., Saturday morning.
Early Sunday morning, trees caused another outage affecting members from roughly Mile 148 of the Glenn Highway to the end of the west line. Crews immediately responded and power was restored by approximately 9:30 a.m.
After several areas in the Copper Basin had been restored, a sensor malfunction took the Cogeneration Plant in Valdez down and caused a system-wide outage affecting all of the Copper Basin and Valdez. It took roughly one hour to resolve the issue and restore power to those areas. The crews in the Copper Basin were not affected by this outage and continued to work on clearing the lines and restoring power to priority areas in that district.
CVEA kept members informed throughout the outage with timely updates to CVEA's Facebook page, cvea.org, and the Cooperative's emergency voicemail system. In addition, a customer service team was in place until 10 p.m., Wednesday to help answer member calls. CVEA also worked with KCAM radio, and thanks them for broadcasting radio updates throughout the event.
The Cooperative thanks all CVEA members for their patience and supportive comments, and thanks the CVEA team who worked tirelessly throughout the storm to get the lights back on and keep members informed.
CVEA would like to remind members they can get real-time outage information as it becomes available by visiting the Copper Valley Electric Association Facebook page, viewing the Facebook feed on the home page at cvea.org, or by calling CVEA dispatch at 1-866-835-2832. Up to date information is posted on the voicemail system.
If you have questions regarding this press release, please contact Sharon Scheidt, CVEA Director of Communications, at 822-5506, 835-7005, or email scheidt@cvea.org.