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Power Restored To Diomede After Five Days in the Dark

Little Diomede, 2008
Little Diomede in April 2008. Photo: Susanne Thomas, Bering Strait School District. Used with permission.

After being without power for about five days, the majority of Diomede now has electricity and heat running through their homes. As of yesterday, at least four homes were still without power, but electrical technicians are scheduled to remain in Diomede until Wednesday.

According to a city employee in the Diomede office, power was restored to most of the community on Wednesday, thanks to the work of a power plant operator from Wales and employees of the Alaska Energy Authority. She suspects that a faulty pole caused the community-wide outage, but Jeremy Zidek, a public information officer (PIO) for the State division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the exact cause is still unknown.

“When we made contact with them (Diomede), they said they had no immediate emergency needs, and we understood that electrical technicians were in the village at that time and that they were resolving the issues that they had. We did not receive any additional requests for equipment that may be permanently damaged or anything along those lines,” explained Zidek.

Diomede is used to solving power outages and other situations without outside assistance from the State. Zidek says, in his experience with small or rural Alaskan communities, the community prefers to handle electrical issues or other issues on their own.

“We see that there are power issues, there’s also water issues, communication issues that just pop up. A lot of times these communities can just handle them internally… and it doesn’t really rise to the level of emergency,” stated Zidek.

For future incidents, Zidek recommends that community members in Diomede reach out to the State’s emergency operations center to make them aware of what is going on and allow them to help if necessary.

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