Manokotak power fails, pipes freeze, city declares emergency

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Some places in Alaska could use a little of that global warming right now.

The western Alaska community of Manokotak is under a declared state of emergency after a winter storm earlier this month cut the power.

The town of about 450 finally declared the emergency on Dec 21, and has asked the State of Alaska for assistance as more cold weather bears down on the region this weekend, where it is 14 degrees and blizzard conditions. Manokotak is about 25 miles from Dillingham.

About 300 people are affected by the power outage and burst water pipes that ensued.

Alaska Energy Authority declared an emergency on Dec. 20, and began the process of ensuring stable power in Manokotak, the city said.

The community’s utility is owned by Manokotak Natives Limited, which undertook a renovation project in June 1. The Native village corporation has asked for help from local contractors to troubleshoot and resolve power issues, but faces challenges due to depleting resources and unavailability of contractors and parts. The village corporation does not have the funds to do the repairs.

Manokotak Mayor Melvin P. Andrew declared a state of disaster emergency and has requested that Gov. Mike Dunleavy provide disaster assistance.

“The city specifically requests disaster relief to cover labor, parts, and equipment needed to make temporary and permanent repairs to the city’s power infrastructure, and to assist in restoring power, water, and sewer to all affected areas and facilities,” the declaration says.

Meanwhile, the city government has opened the school for emergency shelter as a winter storm bears down on Saturday.

“Check on your neighbors and lend a helping hand,” the city wrote on social media. “Contact emergency services immediately if there is EMERGENCY! TPOs and Health Aides been notified.”

The city leaders also asked for prayer: “In all this keep praying.”

24 COMMENTS

  1. We can only expect to read, and experience, more and more such stories as the ever-increasing creeping incompetence within our society keeps pace with the suicidal death-cult energy policies of the pro-globalist radical leftist extremists.

    • Also useless in a blizzard are wind generators.

      There should be no way a storm can knock out
      a city generator system unless the storm blew
      down the generator building. Sounds more
      like poor or no maintenance or they have an old
      generating system that was waiting for a storm
      to happen to get a new one.

  2. This is the 4th or 5th village I have heard of this year that have power issues. The villages don’t seem to have enough interest in their power plants to properly maintain them because this is totally unnecessary wtih a well maintained plant.

    • The thing is, and let’s be honest here.

      If someone were to provide you with free-to-you healthcare, free or nearly free housing, Quest cards (food stamps), and heating assistance, would you bother to work? Would you bother to learn a trade and employ it?

      I’m not slamming the village culture, some of the very best people I’ve ever known live out West and in Interior villages…but if all these things are done for you, there’s little incentive to improve your station.

      The ennui of perpetual comfort…and no one seems satisfied.

      The fact is, it’s not the booze or the drugs that damage village life the most, those are just symptoms. Taxpayers are killing village culture with kindness.

  3. Let’s consider practical realities. Our culture has many communist features. Roads, sewer, water, parks, schools, are all provided by the collective (government). Electricity is most often provided by a government-regulated monopoly–the collective in another form. The question is, at what point do collective benefits reach limits? Is it reasonable for me to live alone on a remote wilderness mountain and insist the collective provide me sewer, water, communication and all its other benefits? Exactly how inequitable should the distribution of collective benefits be?

  4. It’s long past time for very village, town and municipality to assess property taxes and contribute to their own costs. If the Alaska Energy Authority could discard its political correctness for a moment (and I am not recommending it do so) it would tell you that it strives to provide power in the remote villages that does not depend on local maintenance. It’s not a Native circumstance: Last I looked Tok, Gustavus and Tenakee paid no taxes either!

    The best way to keep government efficient is to have local people pay for local services. That way the people demanding the service have a stake in whether graft, waste, etc. are allowed. It’s the same for education, law enforcement, road maintenance, and the rest. Whatever people pay for in Anchorage must also be paid for in Bethel.

  5. Looks like the Rich Native corporations would be willing to help their Brothers and Sisters in Need….
    Wishful thinking…….. They want more Government help………

  6. This is a modern trend. These problems didn’t happen in the past. Why? Because new generators are all computer (PLC) controlled. They are high tech devices that locals aren’t trained to maintain. One small sensor can go out and the generator goes into fault and won’t stay running. Contractors can’t get competent service techs to the bush and parts from the L48 run into supply chain issues. It’s a federal cluster f&^%. Best thing is for all people to move out of Manokotak. Shut down the village. Come back in the summer to visit. It’s only going to get worse when generators are banned and the only money Pelotola can get Bush villages is for wind turbines and solar panels.

    • It is (one of) the third rail of Alaskan politics, that must NEVER be mentioned, that the vast majority of Bush villages are nothing but financial and economic black holes — money pours in, but essentially nothing of any real value comes back out. How long is the state of Alaska going to, and going to be able to, fund these economic sinks?

  7. Damn…..maybe we can buy them some more star links though…….that’s what the villages really need. Cripes.

    • When the new water plant went on line, it taxed the already inferior power system. Many times, the school had to go their own power so the village, and ultimately the school didn’t brown out

  8. Why doesn’t the village call Biden? Or call Mary Peltola? Or Lisa Murkowski? They won’t because nothing would happen.

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