Multiple Power Outages December 12-17th Compounded By Thompson Pass Avalanches

HIGH FLYING ON THE POWER LINES  Fallen Trees, Avalanches, "Snow Slap"... You Name It, We Got It  Out on the Power Lines (Photo, CV...


HIGH FLYING ON THE POWER LINES 

Fallen Trees, Avalanches, "Snow Slap"... You Name It, We Got It 


Out on the Power Lines (Photo, CVEA) 

I hear you singing in the wire
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman
Is still on the line
I know I need a small vacation
But it don't look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south
Won't ever stand the strain.      

 GLENN CAMPBELL, WICHITA LINEMAN 


 Severe Weather Conditions Caused Multiple Power Outages 
Throughout CVEA’s Service Territory 

Press Release, CVEA 
December 18, 2023 

Glennallen, AK – Severe weather struck CVEA’s service territory last week, resulting in multiple power outages beginning early Tuesday morning, December 12, and lasting through the morning of Sunday, December 17. 


Wet, heavy snow blanketed the service territory and caused the outages experienced by CVEA members. Heavy snow caused trees to bend or break and fall into power lines, causing damage to the lines and other equipment. 


The majority of initial outages were focused in the Copper Basin. CVEA’s line crew began restoration efforts on a section of the Richardson Highway, between MP 82-100, early Tuesday morning. By 10 a.m., there were additional outages affecting several areas of the district. 


Due to avalanches closing Thompson Pass, the Valdez line crew was unable to assist with restoration efforts in the Copper Basin. CVEA reached out to contractors for assistance and was able to secure extra line crew members from Northern Power Constructors in Anchorage and Electric Power Constructors in the Mat-Su Valley. These crews arrived on scene at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively. Crews worked through the day and night restoring outages in various locations along the Richardson, Old Rich, Edgerton, and Glenn Highways. 


On Wednesday, at roughly 3:30 a.m., a system-wide outage occurred due to a fault on the transmission line. Power was restored to the majority of members in both districts within an hour. The transmission line was patrolled with a helicopter at daylight. A tree was found on the transmission line across the bay from Valdez in an area prone to avalanches. After consulting with an avalanche expert to ensure the safety of personnel, crews were allowed to work under specific conditions. The line crew accessed the area on tracked rigs and repaired the line on Saturday, allowing the system to be reconnected. 


As Copper Basin crews continued restoration efforts throughout the district, a tree burning through a power line caused a district-wide outage Wednesday night. A plant operator immediately responded, and power was restored to the majority of the district within 40 minutes. Parts of Glennallen, and everyone on the North Line to Sourdough, continued to experience an outage until repairs were completed by the following morning. 


Power was restored to all members in both districts, apart from three individual meters, by 10 a.m. Thursday. 


Between late Friday evening and early Sunday morning, one district-wide outage occurred in Valdez and two system-wide outages occurred. With each outage, the Valdez line crew patrolled the line looking for the fault. The outages on Friday and Sunday were due to trees in the line. Trees were removed and power was restored. The cause of Saturday’s outage was presumed to be ‘snow slap.’ This occurs when wet, heavy snow piles up on power lines, then releases, causing lines to move aggressively and contact each other, creating a fault. 


In addition to these significant outages, there were additional isolated outages in the Valdez district. 

Crews worked around the clock throughout the duration of this weather event systematically patrolling the lines, clearing trees from the lines, and making necessary equipment repairs. Areas were re-energized as soon as repairs were complete, and conditions allowed. 


The Cooperative thanks all CVEA members for their patience and supportive comments, and thanks the CVEA team who worked tirelessly throughout this weather event to get the lights back on and keep members informed. CVEA would also like to thank the crews from both Electric Power Constructors and Northern Power Constructors for their support. 


CVEA reminds members they can get real-time outage information as it becomes available by visiting the Copper Valley Electric Association Facebook page, viewing the Facebook feed on the home page at cvea.org (no Facebook account necessary), or by calling CVEA Dispatch at 1-866-835-2832. Updates are posted on the voicemail greeting system. 


We ask that members recognize that the Operator's priority is to assess the situation and then develop a plan to get the lights back on. The process includes locating the cause of the outage, calling appropriate personnel, bringing additional generation online as necessary and energizing distribution lines to restore service to customers. Depending on weather, time of day, cause and location, these activities can take minutes or hours; therefore, this information is not always available immediately. 

CVEA does provide updates as soon as information is available, so if you do not see it initially, please be patient and check back. 




What To Do When CVEA Has A Power Outage & You Need Information 

Power Outage Information From The Utility

Outage Communications
CVEA understands that members are interested in information regarding outages, both in real-time and post-outage. The Cooperative is committed to providing members outage information. Currently CVEA provides updates during outages and additional details are provided on cvea.org and through other media channels after outages.


CVEA reports real-time outage information under the following circumstances:
For district or system-wide outages expected to last more than 1 hour
For major distribution feeder outages expected to last more than 2 hours
For any outage affecting more than 10 customers expected to last more than 2 hours

Please note that members should not expect real-time outage information if an outage does not meet the criteria above. It is CVEA’s priority to provide real-time outage information during extended outages so members can prepare their homes, businesses, and families to be without power for lengthy periods of time.


We ask that members recognize the Plant Operator’s FIRST priority is to assess the situation and develop a plan to get the lights back on. The process includes locating the cause of the outage, calling appropriate personnel, bringing additional generation online as necessary, and energizing distribution lines to restore service to customers. Depending on weather, time of day, cause and location, these activities can take minutes or hours, therefore this information


is not always available immediately. CVEA provides updates as soon as information is available, so if you don’t see it initially, please be patient and check back.


CVEA reports real-time outage updates in a variety of ways to ensure all members have access to current information. Members can call the after-hours emergency voicemail system at 1-866-835-2832; real time information is updated on the voicemail message system for those calling in. Members can visit the CVEA Facebook page, where current information is posted throughout the outage, or members can visit cvea.org. Facebook updates can also be viewed through a feed on the homepage. Additionally, scheduled outages are noted on the outage communications page at cvea.org.


CVEA members can find monthly outage information just one click away; information is gathered on the number of outages by month and by cause. Interested members are encouraged to visit cvea.org and click the Outage Communications link under Quick Links on the homepage. If you have questions regarding outages or any other CVEA issue, please contact Sharon Scheidt, CVEA Director of Communications, at 907-255-1425, or sscheidt@cvea.org


CVEA Lineman Apprentices Justin Moncrief & Nathanael Severs Repair Equipment On Transmission Line. (Picture, Dirk Williams, CVEA Valdez Line Foreman)  

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