Power blinks continue to plague Lewiston, Utica, Rushford and Stockton
Cresco, IA | Rushford, MN (10:30 a.m. Dec. 18, 2017)— Early Saturday afternoon the cities of Lewiston, Utica, Rushford and Stockton and the rural areas surrounding those cities once again experienced five electric blinks.
Fault indicators that were placed on ITC Midwest’s transmission line, which feeds into the City of Rushford’s substation, approximately two weeks ago indicate the problem area is between Good Shepherd Nursing Home and the city’s substation.
Initial investigation on Saturday by MiEnergy Cooperative, ITC and Dairyland Power Cooperative did not find a specific cause.
“We have sent a clear message to ITC and Dairyland of the importance of providing reliable power to our members. The number of blinks on this stretch of transmission line is unprecedented and it is unacceptable,” stated Brian Krambeer, MiEnergy’s president/CEO.
MiEnergy provides wholesale power to the City of Rushford as well nine other cities. This means the cooperative provides the power to the city substations and each city then distributes it on their own electric system to city residents. For decades, the transmission line feeding the city’s substations has been owned by ITC and its predecessors, not locally by MiEnergy or Dairyland. The city substation is at the end of the line, meaning there is only one transmission line feeding into it and no way to take it offline to back-feed it from another source.
In the meantime, MiEnergy crews were able to do some line switching Saturday afternoon to reduce the number of members affected until more is known about the cause of these latest blinks. However, this does not include the residents of the city who get their electric bill directly from the City of Rushford. As mentioned above, there is no way to back-feed the city’s substation.
MiEnergy will be thoroughly reviewing the city’s substation and equipment again and is getting an infrared camera to assist in finding any possible problem areas.
“We want members and residents to know we are thoroughly investigating what we are able to on the cooperative’s side and we continue to work with the power suppliers to ensure they are doing a thorough job on their end,” stated Krambeer.
Krambeer encouraged members to call the cooperative directly if they have questions about electric service and what if anything can be done by the homeowners or business owners to alleviate issues that result from blinks.
“We take our role in providing reliable power seriously and we are frustrated by the series of events,” Krambeer explained. “As with any blink, the best thing members can do whether they are a business or homeowner is to protect sensitive equipment with UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and surge devices. There are affordable solutions for these types of situations that keep power running and electronics protected.”