Petersburg’s Power and Light building, where the utility houses its backup diesel generators. (Photo by Rachel Cassandra)

Many residents in Petersburg lost power Wednesday, December 28th, for two hours. The power went out at 3pm for all of Southeast Alaska Power Agency’s—or SEAPA—circuit 62. That includes Petersburg’s downtown, the airport, and the hospital.

Power and Light Utility Director Karl Hagerman says that his team heard a report from the public that a transformer had blown up in the Tonka Seafoods Area of Mitkof Highway.

“We responded and looked around for damage or any other indications that there was an issue,” said Hagerman. “The line crew did not find anything.”

Power and Light still doesn’t know exactly what went wrong. Hagerman says there were a number of small complications that made it hard to restore power.

“It was a weird one,” said Hagerman, “because it tripped off the breaker, a super breaker for circuit 62, which is the, obviously the breaker that feeds the downtown area, the core of Petersburg on up to the airport and over to the hospital. And, and when that goes down, and the hydro is down, we have fewer resources to restore that circuit. And so it is just it takes a little longer, but we had several small issues that slowed us down.”

Hagerman says they were able to restore hydroelectric power slowly with help from the Scow Bay generator.

“And we were able to bring power back up slowly,” said Hagerman. “With Tyee Lake operators helping us out with a project, we brought up a diesel, our Scow Bay generator, to help support the restoration process.”

Now that Petersburg is back on hydroelectric power, Power and Light can investigate what went wrong.

“It’s more research into exactly what went wrong,” Hagerman said. “And trying to figure out if there’s any repairs, or if there’s a component that failed, things like that. Small things can add up to be big things sometimes.”

All of Petersburg was back on hydroelectric power as of five pm December 28th.