We survived our first Alaskan power outage


One of the things I was really concerned about upon moving to Alaska was the idea of power outages.

Since I knew we were going to be living in a place where the weather is cold enough to be actively life-threatening the majority of the year, therefore making electricity even more essential, I asked around if the power went out very often. I was assured that it very rarely does.

(Of course I was also assured that they almost NEVER cancel school for snow in Alaska, and we see how that turned out so far. But I digress.)

But this week on Tuesday, as snow piled up all around, the electricity in my house went out in the afternoon. Then they announced school was cancelled for the next day. The power stayed out all night.

There is a generator that the previous owners left us (THANK YOU!!), and so my husband set about figuring out how to run it. He had some trouble; it kept kicking itself off and having to be restarted, so it was only working some of the time. When it was running, there was only enough power available to run the boiler and the refrigerator.

We do have a fireplace, so I was pleased that we were in no danger of freezing to death. Still, there were challenges. There was no way to cook food, of course, and the water in the house quickly ran out since it comes from a neighborhood well that is pumped through –you guessed it!– electricity.

We passed a difficult night, since I need a breathing machine to sleep. I kept waking up gasping for air, and my husband kept going out into the cold to restart the generator. I think he was relieved to go to work the next morning.

So Wednesday dawned bright and early with a whole day of kids-home-with-no-TV stretching out in front of us. (I know, first-world problems, right?)

no wifi no tv


I remained positive, though. “We can play together!” I said brightly to the children. They were not fooled.

Naturally, the day degenerated into me trying to read on the couch while the kids fought with each other and I yelled, “Go play in your rooms!”

“Why can’t we be one of those nice families who play board games by candlelight when the power goes out?” I lamented to GG, my fifteen-year-old.

She rolled her eyes. “Those people aren’t REAL, Mom.”

It was a long day, but by evening the kids had settled down some. The twins had just gone upstairs and were happily engaged in game they had made up called Animal Rescue Hospital. GG and Boo were reading in the living room with me, and my husband had gone out to check on the generator for the millionth time.

Suddenly, the power came back on! “YAY!” all the kids said. Boo and GG vanished immediately to go on the internet in their rooms, and the twins came down to turn on the TV.  

I said to the twins, “You can keep playing Animal Rescue Hospital, you know. I thought you were having fun?””

They looked at me incredulously. “But now we can watch TV.” 

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