State Briefs

Posted: Sunday, September 22, 2002

Landslide forces AEL&P to use diesel generators

JUNEAU - A landslide at about 9:20 a.m. Saturday knocked out power to Juneau and forced Alaska Electric Light and Power to turn on its expensive diesel generators, company officials said.

Power was restored to all of Juneau by about 10:40 a.m. But the generators probably will run for two days, at an as-yet unknown added cost to consumers, said AEL&P spokesman David Stone on Saturday.

A slide of mud and rocks at Limestone Inlet, about 25 miles south of downtown Juneau, struck aluminum towers that carry transmission lines from the Snettisham hydroelectric power plant 10 miles further south.

One tower was damaged, and the other had its anchoring guy lines snapped, Stone said. Crews were fabricating replacement parts Saturday.

When the power lines from Snettisham, which supplies about 80 percent of Juneau's power, aren't working, AEL&P turns on diesel fuel-powered generators at Lemon Creek and Auke Bay. Their combined power to generate about 60 megawatts of electricity a day is far more than the roughly 40 megawatts that Juneau typically uses this time of year, Stone said.

But he added, "If folks can conserve, that would be great. The fuel cost of running on diesel is more than twice the cost of running on hydro."

The loss of the Snettisham lines also means that institutions - such as the Juneau schools, the state university and the Federal Building - that buy surplus electricity for heating will have to use their own systems, usually oil-fired heating plants, for a while, Stone said.

Stone couldn't say immediately what the use of generators would add to customer's electric bills. But he said the extra expense would be reduced by the amount that Princess Cruises has paid AEL&P to use surplus electricity when its ships are docked in Juneau. Those payments go into an account to cover diesel-generator expenses, he said.

Anchorage murderer sentenced to 61 years

ANCHORAGE - A man convicted of a murder that took place at a summer party was sentenced Friday to 61 years in prison.

Jerome Logan, 22, was sentenced to 80 years in prison, with 20 suspended, for first-degree murder, plus one year for assault.

Logan, 22, killed Billy Watterson at a party in July 2000 after a pickup basketball game that ended in racial taunts, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, Logan got into a fight with a player who taunted him after the game was over and was told to leave. Instead, he went to his car and got a revolver.

He returned and was pointing the gun at people when Watterson tackled him. During the struggle, Watterson was shot twice. He died the next day.

Superior Court Judge Mike Wolverton said he believed Logan did not intend to kill Watterson when he retrieved the gun.

But "we don't go out as an armed camp as a matter of course and solve matters that arise by (showing) firearms," Wolverton said.



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