Alaska News

Beaver, ravens cause power outages in the Mat-Su

The Matanuska Electric Association says at least one beaver and two ravens are to blame for power outages that swept from Willow to Talkeetna on Monday morning.

Around 5:30 a.m. a fallen tree cut power to 11 customers off Willow Fishhook Road. It appears a beaver chewed the tree, which collapsed into a power line and tripped an outage, according to Julie Estey, MEA spokeswoman.

Power was restored around 8:30 a.m., only to disappear again shortly before 11 a.m.

This time, two ravens got tangled in a substation in Willow, stripped off one of the breakers and turned off power for about 3,700 customers, Estey said.

"The ravens definitely wreaked havoc on the system," she said. The birds didn't make it out alive.

By Monday evening, the substation in Willow remained offline. Two other substations began feeding energy to powerless customers and service resumed around 12:15 p.m.

Estey said MEA sees "some" raven-induced power outages each year but few sparked by beavers.

"But we get a lot of squirrels that are kind of traipsing on the lines and connect to line unintentionally and meet their demise," she said.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.