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JUNEAU - Alaska Electric Light and Power officials hope to determine today what caused the Snettisham Hydropower Project to shut down at 4 p.m. Thursday and knock out power throughout the Juneau area.
Power was restored to some parts of downtown, including the state Capitol, by 4:15 p.m., said David Stone, director of consumer affairs for AEL&P. All power was back by 5:20 p.m., he said.
"We don't know what caused it at this point," Stone said Thursday evening. "The Snettisham plant tripped off. We went to stand-by diesel generators."
Snettisham provides AEL&P with hydroelectric power. In emergency situations, the company turns to back-up diesel generators. But the automatic remote-control system that switches AEL&P's system from hydroelectric to diesel did not work Thursday afternoon, Stone said. Officials had to go to each substation and manually switch the system.
"It's a fairly slow process," Stone said. "Snettisham is our largest hydroplant. When you lose your largest generator, the other generators can't pick up the load. It caused an area-wide outage."