The Southeast Alaska Power Agency is offering a ten thousand dollar reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of whomever fired rifle shots at one of its transmission towers last month. The damage to the tower in Wrangell’s back-channel area caused an hour-long power outage in Wrangell and Petersburg. SEAPA suspects it was intentional vandalism and law enforcement has been investigating. SEAPA CEO Trey Acteson announced the reward Thursday.
“We’ve had some discussions with our board and also local law enforcement, both with the US Forest Service and the City of Wrangell Police Department and we’re pushing to get some resolution to the damage that was done. Basically on August 19th, there was a region-wide power outage caused by, what we suspect was, some vandals shooting out some insulators on one of our towers,” he said.
Both towns had to switch to diesel generators until the damage was repaired and hydro-power restored a couple days later. SEAPA estimates the diesel fuel alone cost 150 thousand dollars. Acteson is still putting together the other numbers including the cost of repair parts and labor. He’s hopeful the reward could encourage someone with knowledge of the incident to contact police.
Acteson said, “You know these outages do cost our member utilities and money and their members So, we certainly appreciate anybody that has information that could lead to the arrest or conviction of the possible perpetrators.”
SEAPA owns the two hydro-electric plants that power Petersburg, Wrangell and Ketchikan. The organization is governed by a board of directors from the three municipalities. Anyone with information on the vandalism can contact Wrangell police at 907-874-3270 or Forest Service Law Enforcement in Wrangell at 907-874-2323.