Alaska News

Widespread outage leaves thousands of Alaskans without power Sunday

A widespread power outage hit Southcentral Alaska Sunday evening, affecting customers from West Anchorage to the Hillside and Eagle River.

Tens of thousands of customers were without power as Anchorage residents took to social media to report outages, in what Anchorage police referred to in a statement as a "massive power outage" affecting several parts of the city.

Chugach Electric posted on its Facebook page just before 7:30 p.m. that its customers were experiencing outages in the Huffman, O'Malley and Hillside areas. Chugach spokeswoman Julie Hasquet said about 45,000 customers were without power at the outage's peak.

Hasquet said the outages began when Municipal Light and Power and Chugach Electric "experienced an issue with generation in the Anchorage Bowl." Power substations were then taken offline around the city to avoid overtaxing the system, knocking out power to thousands of customers at once.

According to Hasquet, this "load shedding," as it's called, is designed to prevent even larger outages that could occur when the system becomes too strained.

"Substations are taken down systematically to maintain system integrity," Hasquet said. In the case of Sunday's outage, that included several Chugach substations along the upper and lower Hillside.

According to Municipal Light and Power spokeswoman Julie Harris, the Southcentral Power Plant "tripped" at 7:11 p.m. Sunday for unknown reasons, leading to the outages. ML&P owns a 30 percent stake in the plant, with Chugach owning the other 70 percent.


About 6,700 ML&P customers lost power, Harris said, but were restored by about 7:50 p.m. By 8:15, Chugach Electric said on Facebook that power had also been restored to its customers.

Power also went out in the area along Northern Lights Boulevard near Lake Otis Parkway, and residents on social media also posted about outages in Spenard, Sand Lake and Jewel Lake, East Anchorage and Eagle River.

Matanuska Electric Association, which serves Eagle River and the Valley, said about 8,000 members were without power due to "unstable frequency with neighboring utilities."

Ben Anderson

Ben Anderson is a former writer and editor for Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.