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Monthly Managers Column
What I started to write for this report last Friday, everything completely changed after an intense storm came through our service area later that evening on June 29.
Around 7 p.m. on June 29, our cell phones began receiving text messages from multiple transmission operations for 1552, which is the breaker that delivers power to the area west of Dupree. WAPA (Western Area Power Administration) called and indicated that we had a target somewhere down by Cherry Creek, thus Breaker 1552 would not close in and hold. My first hope was that we just blew a pole-top-pin off of a transmission structure and this would be it. As the evening progressed, we soon learned that we had more than 60 transmission poles down south of Dupree on Cherry Creek Road. This was huge and now it’s time to engage into full storm mode.
With that much transmission plant down, we knew that additional help and equipment would be needed. West Central Electric Cooperative from Murdo was notified along with Boldt Power from Isabel to come assist our own crews in restoration. This entire team of experts restored 3.5 miles of transmission line in two days – by late Sunday evening, all subs were energized. This is absolutely phenomenal from various perspectives. The damaged line had to be removed and taken out of service – with the new poles framed and installed along with the conductor reattached and strung in. Conditions were muddy, but with the rain coming as hard as it did, the ground conditions were more favorable than we predicted. The fact that Moreau-Grand had material on hand to accommodate this much damage on a weekend was a blessing. The fact that employees know what to do in times like this while keeping safety at the forefront is a blessing; along with you – the members’ patience – while waiting for us to bring power back.
One just cannot thank people enough for all they do during these disasters. The damaged corridor was very close to where Director Troy Wall resides. So Troy’s wife, Michelle, along with Troy’s mom and dad (Harold and Jan Wall) demonstrated some real
West River hospitality – and delivered a home-cooked meal for the crews working on Sunday. The Ranch House Café in Dupree promptly made up lunch bags for all crew members on Saturday. Tim Bollinger came at a moment’s notice with his semi-truck and Boldt’s pole trailer to haul poles to the job site.
I understand that much was lost as far as buildings, crops and grassland due to the hail and wind. My heart goes out to each of you. Somehow the Good Lord always provides and takes care of us.
As this is going off to press on July 5, we were hit with yet another intense storm the night of July 3 downing more transmission and distribution poles and much more loss in buildings and structures. Crews worked right through the 4th of July holiday with
restoration efforts continuing.
Until next month…. May we continue to count our blessings.