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Repair begins on 69,000-volt power transmission line broken in Sunday storm

Posted: December 20, 2011 - 1:05am
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An AEL&P lineman reaches out to grab a downed powerline from the power pole on the west side of Gastineau Channel on Monday. The line broke and fell into Gastineau Channel Sunday night, disrupting power to residents on Douglas Island for about two hours.  Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
Michael Penn/Juneau Empire
An AEL&P lineman reaches out to grab a downed powerline from the power pole on the west side of Gastineau Channel on Monday. The line broke and fell into Gastineau Channel Sunday night, disrupting power to residents on Douglas Island for about two hours.

Wear from an aviation marker during Sunday’s windstorm may have brought down a 69,000-volt transmission line where it crosses Gastineau Channel.

Alaska Electric Light & Power expects to finish repairs and re-energize the line by noon on today, AEL&P spokeswoman Debbie Ferreira said.

The utility sent crews out Sunday night in response to a power outage at the West Juneau and Capital Avenue substations. The substations serve approximately 3,800 customers on Douglas Island and “the Flats” in downtown Juneau.

The crew could not fix the line right away and instead rerouted power through a smaller 12.5-kilovolt distribution line, Ferreria said. Power was restored in about two hours. AEL&P did not have to run diesel backup.

“We are currently carrying all load with our hydro resources,” she said.

Douglas businesses and public facilities were not affected by the lower voltage line.

“This is a lower voltage line and is not ideal as a long term solution, however it is sufficient to manage loads as the crew work to repair the transmission line,” Ferreira wrote in an email Monday afternoon.

The crew found the large transmission line had parted on the Juneau side of the channel and dropped into the water. It is one of three conductors that cross the channel on metal towers. The broken line was not electrified as a circuit will open immediately and shut off power when a break is detected, Ferreria said.

Crews spent Monday dragging the line out of the channel and laying it out to straighten.

“The line comes on spools, so it wants to curl,” Ferreira said.

The crew will pull the line across the channel to town side and splice the ends.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.

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