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         Municipality of Anchorage

 Report Power Outage

Power Outage Hotline: 279-7671

ML&P
delivers reliable power 99.99% of the time, but occasional power outages occur. Most are of short duration. However, in the event of an earthquake, extreme winter weather, wildfire or other disaster, you may need to be prepared to be on your own for a while without assistance.

When to call ML&P
If your fuses are not blown, or if the outage affects the whole neighborhood, customers should call ML&Pís Power Outage Hotline at (907) 279-7671.

 

 

Our Facebook site includes power outage updates as well as electrical safety and energy conservation information, but follow us on Twitter @MLandP for power outage notification and information as well as summer construction projects causing road or lane closures.

Be prepared

  • Prepare a Power Outage Kit and keep it handy.

  • Know where your circuit breaker or fuse box is and how to safely reset or change a fuse.

  • In an outage emergency, tune in to local radio. The cityís informational emergency hotline in Anchorage is 343-4701, or visit the Anchorage Office of Emergency Management. Follow them on Twitter @AnchorageEOC and on Facebook.  

  • The Energy Watch Facebook site has been created to communicate gas shortfalls and alert the public in the event of an energy crisis. The site focuses on what you can do to help if and when natural gas delivery pressures drop low enough to warrant concern for the gas and electric systems.  

Take precautions

  • Save computer data frequently and invest in an Uninterrupted Power System (UPS) or a surge suppressor if you canít afford to lose data or turn off sensitive equipment to protect them from a potential power surge when power is restored.

  • Know how to keep tropical fish and birds safe when the power goes out.

  • Stay away from downed power lines or electrical equipment that appears to be damaged. Assume all cables and wires are energized and stay away. Please report this immediately. Never drive over downed lines! Use extreme caution at intersections. Avoid debris-laden or flooded areas as they may conceal downed lines.

  • Use your fireplace safely and never attempt to heat a room with a portable or charcoal grill.

  • A fully loaded refrigerator may keep food fresh for about six hours and a fully loaded freezer may keep food frozen for up to two days if you donít open it.

  • Know how to use your electric garage door openerís manual override.

  • If you were cooking when the power went out, be sure to turn off the appliance to prevent a possible fire hazard when power is restored.

If you rely on life support systems

  • Have emergency back-up.

  • Please register with ML&Pís Life Support Alert Program. ML&Pís Life Support Alert Program provides priority service to customers with conditions requiring medical equipment. However, ML&P cannot guarantee uninterrupted service. Customers with life-support equipment should have stand-by, back-up power sources. We also request that, if possible, the customer immediately notify us by telephone in the event of a power outage. To register for the program, fill out a Life Support Alert Form, obtain your physicianís signature, and mail or fax to:
    • Life Support Alert Program, Municipal Light & Power, 1200 East 1st Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1658, (907) 277-9272

Separate generators from ML&P
Make sure your generator is properly installed by a licensed electrician to avoid back-feeding power on to the grid which can seriously injure a utility worker.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why canít you just prevent power outages?
A.  
There are many reasons that power outages occur. The most frequent reasons for ML&P outages include bird and animal contact with electrical equipment (ravens and squirrels usually); vehicle accidents with poles and transformer pads and fallen or cut trees into the line. In addition, the infrastructure is aging. Many parts were installed in the mid 1970s. While we do our best to maintain and upgrade the system; as well as keep up an aggressive tree-trimming program within our narrow rights-of-ways, equipment failure and tree damage occurs. ML&Pís reliability record for the past decade, however, is exemplary. According to the industry standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, ML&Pís 10-year track record shows continuous service to customers 99.99 percent of the time Ė what we call the ď4-9s of reliability.Ē 

Q. Why donít you underground all the lines so that there arenít any power outages?
A.
ML&P replaces existing overhead distribution lines with underground lines each construction season as required by municipal ordinance. Some lines, however, will never be buried, such as high-voltage transmission lines and areas where terrain or soil conditions are unsuitable. About 65 percent of ML&Pís overhead distribution lines are already buriedómore than in most citiesóbut the process is expensive and will take decades. Undergrounding does not necessarily mean power outages will not occur. Outages involving underground lines may mean longer delays for repairs in order to locate problems and excavate, especially if the area needs to be cleared of snow or frozen ground thawed. More information about undergrounding lines is available on our website at www.mlandp.com/underground.

Q. Why do you want me to call; doesnít your system tell you my power is out?
A.
While we know areas in which customers may be affected when a substation or distribution line trips, for example, we may not necessarily know that your power is out--especially if the outage is occurring on the line to your home, or on your side of the electrical equipment. Calls help our Dispatch Center isolate the extent of any problems that may be occurring on the grid. Thatís why customers are encouraged to call when they notice a power outage.

Q. Why canít you let me know when power will be restored?
A.
Emergency situations, by nature, are unpredictable. It depends on what has caused the outage and how widespread the problem. Unless an outage is caused by something obvious, such as a car crashing into a pole or transformer pad, problems can take time to investigate in order to determine the cause and fix. During a severe winter storm or other major event, itís unproductive to try and guess how quickly power can be restored to each location. ML&Pís priority is to restore power as quickly as possible and to as many customers as possible with emphasis on safety and critical public infrastructure.

Q. Will I get a credit for the time I was without power?
A.
 
Because you are only charged for the electricity you use, there are no credits given to customers after an outage. You are never charged for power in an outage.

Q. My neighbors across the street have power, so why donít I?
A.
It depends on the nature of the problem and which lines are feeding your neighborhood. Sometimes the fault may be on the line to your home; other times we may have to isolate part of the line to work on a problem occurring elsewhere on the line. Or, or your part of the neighborhood may be serviced by another line that hasnít been repaired yet.

Q. Do you give priority to some customers when restoring power? How do you decide?
A.
ML&P follows best practices within the industry when dealing with power outages. Priority is always given to issues of safety and critical community infrastructure such as hospitals and other first responders. From there, repairs are made to affect the most number of customers to the least number. Depending on the situation, crews may start repairing transmission lines as they did in the windstorm of 2012. This is why most customers had power by morning. The next highest level is at the substation and main distribution line level. From there, repairs are made to lines branching off main distribution lines feeding individual neighborhoods and business districts; to pockets of customers and then to individual homes.

Q. I have heard that if there is a gas supply problem, there may be rolling blackouts in the city. How do you decide which customers to shut off?
A.
ML&P is part of the coalition of utilities and governments in Southcentral Alaska addressing the possibility of a gas deliverability problem in the winter. There are a number of things we can do as utilities to conserve the gas supply and we routinely work together every day on these types of matters. Should it become necessary, a government official will make an appeal to citizens to take voluntary steps to conserve energy. The customer action plan is outlined in this Energy Watch Chart. Simple actions that would be the most helpful in the event of an emergency include lowering the thermostat, turning down the setting on the hot water heater, postponing doing laundry and dish washing, turning off unused lights and electronics, and consolidating family activities into one room of the home. Updated information will be available throughout Southcentral Alaska via radio spots, television commercials, on our website and social media, and the Southcentral Alaska Energy Watch Facebook page. Should voluntary conservation measures not be enough to preserve the gas supply, the electric companies will interrupt service to electric customers, with consideration for critical community infrastructure, for short durations Ė 20-30 minutes. The electric companies have the ability to make planned outages with the flip of a switch, whereas when the gas utility would need to send someone to your home to restore your gas heat if it is shut off. ML&P has the additional ability to generate electricity using diesel fuel and has a several-day supply on hand before refueling would be necessary. For details, read our Gas Contingency Planning brochure.

Q. I have a family member on life support. Donít you guarantee priority in an outage?
A.
 
ML&Pís Life Support Alert Program provides priority service to registered customers under normal outage conditions. Customers in the program are not confined to one area of our service territory, however, making priority service difficult in a widespread, catastrophic event such as the windstorm of 2012. ML&P cannot guarantee uninterrupted service and advises all customers with conditions requiring medical equipment, including hospitals and other medical facilities, to have emergency back-up power.  We make every effort to respond to these customers as quickly as possible. To register for the program, fill out a Life Support Alert Form, obtain your physicianís signature, and mail or fax to:

  • Life Support Alert Program, Municipal Light & Power, 1200 East 1st Avenue, Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1658, (907) 277-9272

Q. Why did it take so long to get my power restored when most everyone else was back on last fall?
A.
Most customers were restored to power by early morning following the late night outage on Sept. 4, 2012. The windstorm had cut power to nearly all of ML&Pís 30,000 customers as all three transmission linesówhich normally provide a measure of redundancy in the systemówere downed by fallen trees. But thousands were still without power because trees had damaged distribution lines all over the city. The priority in an outage of this magnitude is to address immediate safety issues and to restore power to critical services and to as many people as quickly as possible. One factor in how quickly your power could be restored would be where your home is located on the grid. In large events, even with backup crews, there are not enough personnel in state to respond to all the damage at the same time. Therefore, crews work methodically through each fault (downed line) with each repair potentially taking up to several hours. Where early on, each repair may affect hundreds or even thousands of customers, fewer and fewer customers are affected as crews work through the problems. The time it takes to make these repairs, however, can take as long or longer than repairs affecting more customers. It all depends on the particular situation on the ground.   

Q. Your phone either rang during the last big power outage or I got a busy signal. Donít you answer the phone during outages?
A.
Our Power Outage Hotline is staffed 24/7. When the number of calls increases to a level beyond on-duty-personnel capabilities, our Call Center is activated. This automated system can handle hundreds of calls simultaneously--automatically recognizing your location and displaying it to Dispatchers who direct crews to respond to outages. If you arenít calling with the phone associated with your ML&P account however, the system will prompt you for your location. You may also leave a message if you have information about the outage and can request a call-back from ML&P, but neither is necessary for crews to begin responding.

During an emergency, such 2012ís unprecedented fall windstorm, the system can become overwhelmed, as it is not financially feasible to keep staffing on hand necessary to handle tens of thousands of calls at once for these rare events. We do ask for customerís patience and for you to try your call again. But know that in any large event such as this, our crews are working as quickly as possible, 24/7, to restore power to you.

If the local phone system is intact, ML&P has the option of transferring the Call Center out-of-state. The 2012 windstorm event affected phones and Internet service city-wide, so we too experienced intermittent problems with our phones and website. ML&Pís system isnít a ďsmart gridĒ per se, but we have technology that we used to help us determine areas of outage in this widespread emergency. By deploying meter reading personnel into the community, we were able to discover areas remaining without power once we were able to bring back the main transmission lines. So while it was a frustrating situation, ML&P was always aware of the magnitude of the problem and continued to work as quickly as possible to restore power to all. Since then, we have activated Facebook and Twitter social media sites to help connect with customers in an emergency, though we ask you not to post personal information there. Besides the obvious security issues, our phone system is designed to help us identify your location to serve you in the quickest manner possible.

Q. I saw crews leave my neighborhood before my power was restored. Should I have tried to stop them to let them know my power was still out?
A.
 
Thank you for asking! But no, please donít stop crews to let them know your power is outócall our Power Outage Hotline instead. Crews may have to leave your area before power is fully restored for a number of reasons: An emergency may have occurred somewhere else that needs immediate attention. They may need additional parts to fix the problem at your location. Other areas may need repair before your area can be re-energized. They may need to change out crew members so that workers can rest in order for the restoration effort to continue safely. Stopping the crews just slows down the process of restoring power. We understand how frustrating it is to experience a power outage, especially during challenging weather. Fortunately, our outages are rare and are usually of short duration. We hope you know that ML&P crews work as quickly as they can, 24/7, until power is restored.

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