Image from the Southeast Alaska Power Agency

An under-water transmission cable to keep Petersburg connected to its largest source of hydro-electric power could be installed this summer.

The community has been without a back up connection to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency’s hydro plants since September of 2019, when one of the submarine power lines across the Stikine Strait failed. If another fails, Petersburg would be forced to rely mostly on more expensive diesel generators. That line is one of four connecting the community to SEAPA’s power plant at Tyee Lake near Wrangell.

SEAPA Board chair Bob Lynn told his fellow members of the Petersburg borough assembly at a meeting Tuesday, January 19 that manufacturing a new cable is ahead of schedule. It could be delivered this spring and installed this summer.

“What we were afraid of we were in a position that we would not receive that cable until late July which would have put us into fall or maybe next winter to have to install that,” Lynn explained. “This really changes the dynamics back so that we’ll be able to put it in next summer. So we really will have a backup cable for Petersburg next winter. (Petersburg utility director Karl Hagerman) and I are really elated to have this news.”

SEAPA has agreed to an 11.7 million dollar contract with Japanese company Sumitomo for manufacturing and installation of that new power line.