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Rural Alaska

Power restored to Newtok after four days

  • Author: Lisa Demer
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published January 20, 2016

BETHEL – Power was restored Wednesday to the Western Alaska village of Newtok, four days after its main generator malfunctioned.

The Alaska Energy Authority flew a generator engine and two mechanics to the village.

"Power is on!" Emily Ford, energy authority policy and outreach manager, said in an email Wednesday just before 9 p.m.

Residents have been heating homes with wood and many were sleeping at the Newtok school, which uses a separate generator.

The energy authority mechanic and a village team worked together Wednesday to bolt the engine in place.

The radiator fan stopped working, which caused the generator engine to overheat and shut down, according to a mechanic at the village utility.

Newtok currently has two students in a power plant operator training course, Ford said. That may prevent a similar problem in the future, but in this case, "time was not on their side," she said.

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