State to send generator to Alaska village with no power

BETHEL, Alaska — Alaska emergency responders are planning to send a backup generator to a village that has been without power for nearly one week.

The state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is working on the plan to transport the generator to Tuluksak in western Alaska, KYUK reported. The Alaska Energy Authority has located a generator and plans to transport it to the village, along with a technician, on Friday, weather permitting, agency spokesman Jeremy Zidek said.

The community of nearly 400 has been without electricity since a power-plant failure last Friday. Replacement parts have been ordered, plant manager Willie Phillip has said.

The outage is occurring as temperatures are above freezing and warmer than usual, so there are no weather-related emergency concerns at this point, Zidek said. Residents have expressed concerns, however, about food spoiling, and emergency managers are working with nongovernment food-resource partners to supply replacement food in response to any spoilage.

Once the backup generator is on the ground, it can be hooked up and operational within a few hours, Zidek said. The equipment that will arrive is a temporary generator designed to operate outside, and it will be used until more permanent repairs can be made at the power plant, he said.

The outage has not affected classes at the village school, which has its own generator. The school could serve as an emergency evacuation center if necessary, Zidek said.

Tuluksak residents have been sharing whatever power sources they have, he said.

“They are working with residents to identify where local generators are, where they can share the temporary power capability among neighbors,” Zidek said.

Tuluksak, which is 35 miles northeast of Bethel, is no stranger to going without electricity for days. Earlier this week, lifelong resident Willie Alexie said an outage lasted so long about two years ago that meat spoiled in freezers.

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