Anderson Island power outage could last months

Anderson Island power outage could last months »Play Video
Electricians prepare cables for connecting two giant generators to the island's power grid.
ANDERSON ISLAND, Wash. - No heat ... no running water ... no TV ... no stove. What sounds like a nightmare has become daily life for an entire Pierce County community.

A snapped underwater cable plunged Anderson Island in the dark - and now everyone wants to know when the lights will return.


 Anderson Island residents fill gas cans to power their home generators during the electrical outage.
But the answer to that isn't clear - it could be a few days - or a few months.

It turns out the submarine cable that connects power to the mainland became damaged somehow on Saturday.

Since then, the island's 1,200 residents have been living off generator power - which also means the lines to fill up their gas cans are long.

Yet despite not having power of their own, most people are surviving just fine.

"Yeah, they're pretty hearty souls out here," Tom Neal said.

After the submarine cable snapped, Tanner Electric hauled two massive generators onto the island. While they can't provide power for everyone here, crews are working to fix that.

Pierce County's Department of Emergency Management told KOMO News the outage could last months.

That means, at night, when temperatures dip, people who don't have any generator power are just going to brave it.

"A lot of people do have wood stoves or propane, but there are a few that don't," said Neal.

Those who are relying on the power company's giant generators sometimes get power only three hours at a time.

But island residents say that's better than nothing.

"That will be good - for us that will work out fine, because we can take showers and get the water going - we can handle it - it will work out," said one resident.

Two meetings are scheduled for residents at the Anderson Island Community Club on Wednesday - one at 4 p.m. and one at 6 p.m. - to talk about restoring permanent power to the island.