Dave Page, general manager of the Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative, summarized the power outages that occurred during the storm on March 14, and the restoration efforts that followed. Page said, “Shortly after noon on Thursday, March 14, Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative members began experiencing blinks and short outages as a result of breaker operations and transmission line failures. Ice accumulation along with high winds caused some transmission lines to short circuit and in some cases poles and wires to break. East River Electric Power Cooperative supplies power to Whetstone Valley and interconnects with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) network of transmission lines and substations. A WAPA line from Bristol to Summit failed and an Otter Tail transmission line fell on to an East River line near Summit. East River also had twelve poles break on a line feeding the Grenville substation.”
Page said, “Even though these events occurred outside of Whetstone’s territory they caused outages to our system. In each case East River was able to re-route and restore power to the substations serving our members within a few minutes.”
According to Page, “Saturday, as temperatures rose, ice that had accumulated on power lines began to fall causing the lines to bounce. This resulted in short circuit conditions, causing breakers to operate and short outages to occur.”
Page said, “Whetstone’s distribution system held up well considering the circumstances. A broken line caused an outage for one member early Thursday afternoon and was quickly repaired. Four poles on a three-phase line broke west of Twin Brooks disrupting power to fifteen consumers. Temporary repairs were made and power was restored Thursday evening. Two more broken poles were discovered and replaced Friday morning on a single phase line northwest of Summit affecting one consumer. Saturday, during line inspections, another broken pole was discovered. No outage occurred as the line remained energized.”
This is one of the reasons Page said, “It is important to stay away from power lines that are low or on the ground as they could be energized or become energized.” Anyone is urged to contact the utility company if any downed power lines are discovered. Page stated, “Whetstone Valley Electric Cooperative would like to thank our members for their patience and support during the storm.” Page also praised East River Electric’s technicians and line workers for their work to re-route, rebuild, and restore transmission service to WVEC members.