Frost causes more power problemsWell, it’s happened again. This time not from snow, but the other white stuff that’s been covering southwest North Dakota — frost.
Well, it’s happened again. This time not from snow, but the other white stuff that’s been covering southwest North Dakota — frost.
Hundreds of homes lost power over the past few days as the weight of frost snapped lines.
The recent outages follow a mass outage in January after blizzards left ice and frost on power lines and poles. That damage has left some systems not quite up to par.
As of noon Thursday, about 40 Roughrider Electric Cooperative customers were without power, said Leonard Hibl, Roughrider’s director of member services. Outages had occurred for a few days, he said. The co-op covers Oliver, Mercer, Dunn, Stark, Golden Valley and Billings counties.
Hibl said Thursday he expected customers’ power to be restored by Thursday evening.
About 94 Montana-Dakota Utilities’ customers in Hettinger were without power at noon Thursday, spokesman Mark Hanson said, adding there were a few short-lived outages in Rhame and Marmarth. Hanson said all customers now have power.
A spokesperson for Slope Electric Cooperative said the company has been handling power outages since Saturday.
In an e-mail, LaWanna Wilhelm, key accounts executive with Slope Electric, said the January ice storm “greatly damaged our system,” adding there is a possibility the cooperative will have more outages than usual until the system is back to “normal operating standards.”
Wilhelm added the outages were sporadic, affecting less than 200 sites spread over Adams, Bowman, Hettinger and Slope counties.
Slope County Auditor Lorrie Buzalsky briefly lost power at her farm.
“It was out this morning for two or three hours, just for a short period of time,” she said Thursday.
The frost has not caused poles to snap, unlike earlier outages, Hibl said.
“We were just thankful that poles didn’t go down, because it was heavy, very heavy,” he said of the frost.
Frost coming off the lines may cause lines to touch each other, causing lights to flicker, Hibl added.
Accuweather.com is predicting patchy freezing fog and a chance of snow today, which Hibl said is a concern.
“We just keep our fingers crossed that temperatures will be warm enough to where it will take care of itself,” Hibl said.