Spring Storm Wesley: "All Hands on Deck" for April Storm
By: Courtney J. Deinert
The April winter storm nicknamed “Wesley” affected our members beginning Wednesday, April 10th as the rain, ice and wind conditions rolled into our territory. This caused both East River’s transmission lines and our own distribution lines to gallop.
Over 4,000 Central Electric members experienced some kind of power blink or outage that Wednesday. Outage calls rang in non-stop that afternoon, and we thank our members for your patience on the line and to those who had to leave a voicemail.
Overnight into Thursday morning, the heavy snow arrived. On Thursday and Friday, crews and employees battled the deep and drifting snow to make it to work and begin restoration.
Central Electric had over 730 members out of power beginning Thursday, April 11, and still 650 on Friday morning, April 12. The conditions truly slowed down repairs those two days as crews battled visibility and digging out trucks while out on the roads.
Central Electric requested additional help from the South Dakota Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, and on Friday afternoon, twelve additional linemen and extra equipment arrived from Northern Electric (Bath, SD), Oahe Electric (Blunt, SD), and West Central Electric (Murdo, SD).
Crews arrived in high spirits on Saturday and made significant progress on the remaining 300 outages. All known residences were restored Saturday evening. A couple dozen more outages came in that night, and crews resumed efforts on Sunday to restore power and repair equipment.
Crews from the assisting three co-ops were dismissed on Sunday morning to go help at Sioux Valley Energy near Sioux Falls who still had roughly 2,000 members out of power on Sunday.
Outages were scattered across our territory, which required crews to cover lots of ground to restore power. The majority of damages included line breaks on single-phase lines.
Thank you to our members for your continued patience, understanding and support of our employees throughout the storm repairs. We know many of our members had their own storm challenges including calving in the mud and snow, water in basements, going to work with no electricity at home, and more. Our members were in our thoughts as crews pushed hard to restore power, and we appreciated the support in return.