Crew causes power outage while trimming trees to prevent one

Posted: Friday, January 29, 2010

A crew cutting trees around AEL&P's power lines to help prevent tree-caused outages inadvertently caused one around 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, AEL&P spokeswoman Gayle Wood said.

"The tree they were working on inadvertently came to rest on one of the transmission lines. After burning for about five minutes, it caused an outage," she said. That tree was downtown near Gastineau Avenue.

Wood said the crew is "not happy about this at all."

"They specialize in (trimming trees) and have a solid reputation," she said. "But even the best crews, this can happen to them - it's certainly happened to us, too."

Wood said she did not know the name of the contractor.

Some state office buildings with backup generators remained with power, but the generator at the Capitol building broke down after a couple of minutes of operation.

AEL&P began to restore power to the city less than 30 minutes after the outage began. The last of AEL&P's customers' power was restored about 70 minutes after it went out, Wood said.

"We can only apologize for the outage... it's been a month for trees," she said.

A fallen tree caused a brief power outage in Juneau on Jan. 12.

Wood said AEL&P spends about $300,000 a year trimming trees around power lines.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or

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