Municipal Light and Power is working to restore power to part of Downtown Anchorage Tuesday morning, with state officials saying power has been restored to the Atwood Building in the area.
ML&P spokesperson Melissa Wolf says the outage, first reported at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, is intermittently affecting an area between A and K streets and 5th and 8th avenues. While the area contains less than 5,000 customers, Wolf says because the outage is intermittent and interspersed it's not simultaneously affecting all of them; there isn't an immediate estimate on when power will be fully restored.
"We have not isolated the problem," Wolf said. "It is an equipment problem, it's not a line."
Kelly Mazzei posted on Channel 2's Facebook page that at one point people were stuck in elevators at the Atwood when they lost power.
Andy Mills, a spokesperson with the state Department of Administration, says the department received initial reports of outages at the Atwood Building at about 8 a.m., with sporadic reports of outages at 8:30 a.m. The building’s facility manager says it currently has power, and Mills says the elevator problems have been fixed.
“Power has been restored to the Atwood fully,” Mills said. “Whatever the power did to them, they needed an elevator tech to come and fix 'em.”
He says that while no decision has been made to send the 1,200 state employees who work at the building home for the day, officials are monitoring the situation if outages persist.
“It’s a wait-and-see,” Mills said.
Anchorage police say the Downtown outage also briefly knocked the department's new online scanner offline on its first day of operation. APD spokesperson Jennifer Castro says that while the scanner itself still utilizes radio equipment at police headquarters on Elmore Road, the online feed is operated through the municipality's Information Technology Department based at City Hall on 6th Avenue. A generator had to be brought online to power the IT equipment during the outage.
"It didn't affect police in any way, just our online scanner," Castro said.
The outage also caused the Anchorage Museum to close for the day. Spokesperson Sarah Henning says the decision was made at 9 a.m. Tuesday after outages interfered with electronically operated security doors on site.
"We couldn't let people in," Henning said. "We hate disappointing people, but safety is more important."
ML&P is posting updates on its Facebook page and its Twitter feed, and is asking affected customers to call the company at 279-7671.