Public should practice caution, avoid work crews, stay away from downed power lines
Columbus, Neb. – Thunderstorms, along with ice, wind and cold temperatures make for rough working conditions, yet Nebraska Public Power District’s line crews are restoring power to those without as quickly and safely as possible.
High winds, ice, hail, and galloping lines were some of the causes for a variety of outages, as a storm moved across the state. NPPD retail communities affected by the storm included Kearney, Bassett, Long Pine, Bristow, Lynch, Butte, Oakdale, Atkinson, Aurora, Inman, and York, and more than 4,000 customers were impacted at the storm’s peak.
As of this morning, the number of NPPD customers without power stood at less than 300 in a handful of communities.
“The Kearney area was impacted most by the storm,” said NPPD Chief Operating Officer Tom Kent. “We tried to get as many residential and commercial customers as we could back on last night, and greatly appreciate the cooperation of those living in or operating businesses in areas where the damage to our power lines requires full replacement of poles and conductor.
“Another area we are focused on today is the community of Butte, where the storm in that area caused damage to our system. We are moving a mobile generator into Butte to serve the community, until we can complete storm damage repairs. That installation will happen later today,” he said.
NPPD has assigned more than 50 line technicians to the Kearney area and NPPD crews from western towns not as impacted are being sent to help out fellow communities in the northeastern part of the state. The crews are addressing a variety of isolated outages in communities where trees, ice, and wind have interrupted service to customers. Outages may continue as the winter weather conditions are expected to remain in the area throughout the next couple of days.
NPPD’s transmission crews have also been sent to assess potential damage to NPPD’s high-voltage transmission lines in the Holdrege and York areas.
The public is asked stay away from areas where the crews are working, as downed power lines should always be treated as if they could be ‘live’ or electrically charged. Trained crews will handle the removal and clean-up of any broken poles and conductor on the ground.
“Complete restoration and clean-up from the damage this storm caused will continue through the weekend until we get our system restored to normal operating conditions,” said Kent. “The good thing is we know weather plays a key role in our business and we are prepared for it. Our equipment and materials were available to assist us in our response. Our customers can be assured we are working as safely and as expediently as possible to return things to normal.”