by Abby Hancock
Channel 2 News
5:53 PM AKDT, September 5, 2012
Strong winds that whipped through Southcentral Alaska left many Anchorage residents cleaning up the mess Mother Nature left behind. Wednesday night, thousands of homes were without power. Utility companies say they are making a steady effort to restore electricity as fast as they can.
Nearly all 30,000 Municipal Light and Power customers lost service, after wind gusts and fallen trees damaged all three of its major transmission lines. As of Wednesday evening, ML&P said the majority of its customers had power back but there are a few known outages that crews are responding to.
"We've had folks that have been with ML&P for 20 years and no one can remember anything like this," said Ronnie Dent with ML&P. "it has been described as a once-in-a-lifetime type of storm."
As of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Chugach estimates 5,000 customers are still without power and Matanuska Electric Association says about 3,000 of its customers are waiting for service to be restored.
Earlier Wednesday, a Chugach utility crew was working at a mobile home park in Muldoon that was hit hard by the storm. Multiple Cottonwood trees were ripped from the ground before crashing into three power poles. Crews were on site untangling the mess and trying to restore power. It was just one of many similar situations all across Anchorage.
"It seems like it was all over Chugach's service territory last night, it wasn't isolated to any one spot. We had damage way down in south Anchorage, over in the Sand Lake area, and here in Muldoon on the east side of town," said Bill Bernier, director of Chugach substations and line operations.
All utility companies ask customers to be careful around any downed power lines and to report them immediately. ML&P's power outage hotline is 279-7671. Chugach can be reached at 563-7366 while MEA customers can report outages or fallen lines at 746-7697 for the Mat-Su Valley or 696-7697 for Eagle River.
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