DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC UTILITIES

KUCB Staff

The City of Unalaska has begun installing new utility readers at local homes.

The roughly $400,000 system upgrade will allow the Department of Public Utilities to monitor electricity consumption without visiting customers' houses.

The automatic meters will also improve the billing process, according to Public Utilities Director Dan Winters.

KUCB Staff

After dealing with a handful of electrical outages earlier this month, Unalaska's powerhouse is fully operational again.

That's according to the city's Public Utilities Director, Dan Winters. He fielded questions from Mayor Frank Kelty during Tuesday's brief City Council meeting.

"We're all good to go at the powerhouse? No more upcoming power outages?" Kelty asked of Winters. "He's giving me the thumbs-up."

KUCB Staff

Unalaska's power is back on after two island-wide outages in the last two days.

The city's Department of Public Utilities has rerouted electricity around a damaged control switch at the powerhouse. That switch spurred the first, unscheduled outage Tuesday around 7 p.m.

"Everything tripped offline, meaning the generators and all the field breakers in the powerhouse opened up," said Utilities Director Dan Winters. "We found out one of our viper control switches was bad, and it blew a potential transformer."

KUCB Staff

In downtown Unalaska and the valley, communications are returning to normal after a power outage Tuesday affected landline telephones, internet service, and other networks.

The outage was caused by a leak in a powerhouse engine's cooling system, according to Public Utilities Director Dan Winters.

While it took several hours to isolate and repair the leak, Winters said the city's electrical operations are back to normal and he doesn't expect any similar problems in the future.

KUCB Staff

The city is adding staff at Unalaska's landfill and powerhouse in an effort to meet growing demand on local utilities. 

On Tuesday, the City Council voted unanimously to fund three new full-time positions at the Department of Public Utilities this fiscal year.

Councilor James Fitch, a former powerhouse employee, says that'll be $434,598 well spent.

"This has been a long time coming," said Fitch. "It really needs to be done to protect the safety of the people who work there and to protect the city's investment in that power plant and landfill."