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Update: Equipment failure led to Dickinson power outage

A Dickinson Police officer in his cruiser blocks a turn lane at the corner of Third Avenue West and Museum Drive to force motorists into a four-way stop at the busy intersection after a power outage that affected a good chunk of north Dickinson shut off traffic lights. (Press Photo by Dustin Monke)

A large portion of Dickinson was without power for 30 to 40 minutes Wednesday night after an outage being attributed to equipment failure affected Montana-Dakota Utilities customers.

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Mark Hanson, the senior public relations representative for MDU, said Thursday morning in an email that the outage was attributed to a failed lightning arrester at a transmission substation.

“It’s designed to protect the critical infrastructure that provides the bulk of the electric supply to a large portion of Dickinson,” Hanson said. “Its function is to prevent a surge caused by a lightning strike on a transmission line from going into equipment. For an unknown reason, the arrester failed, which tripped out the substations. It’s likely it failed this time because of previous lightning strikes.”

Three substations were tripped, Hanson said, leading to two-thirds of the city losing power.

A large part of north Dickinson lost power beginning at Ninth Street West and stretching north to 21st Street West, affecting residential areas, gas stations, restaurants, Prairie Hills Mall and a majority of city's hotels. Ironically, Applebees Bar & Grill and Econofoods supermarket were both closed at the time because of overnight remodeling work.

Power was also out to residential areas in east and south sides of the city as well.

The power went out at 10:21 p.m. and was restored at about 10:55 p.m. to two of the three affected substations. The third substation was re-energized at 11:05 p.m., Hanson said.

Only MDU customers lost power. Roughrider Electric Cooperative customers did not report outages, representatives confirmed.

The Dickinson Police Department directed traffic at Third Avenue West and West Museum Drive for the duration of the outage. The Dickinson Fire Department responded to an alarm at T-Rex Mall shortly after the outage began, but said at the scene that it appeared to be a false alarm.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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