Story faces two power outages in one day (updated)

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STORY — Story residents have been affectd by two different electrical outages in the last 24 hours. The first was caused by a truck that hit an electrical pole, while the cause of the second was a tree branch damaging a transformer.

“Yesterday, there was a concrete pump truck that went off the road on Highway 87 going to Story and broke off one of our transmission poles,” Montana-Dakota Utilities Spokesperson Mark Hanson said.

A spokesperson from the Sheridan-based construction company Mullinax, Inc., confirmed it was one of their trucks that went off of the road when a back tire went into the shoulder of the road and frozen mud pulled the rest of the vehicle off the highway. The driver was not injured and the truck was not damaged. Mullinax credits the driver’s skill in not overreacting when the situation presented itself.

Hanson indicated the entire pole had to be replaced, and crews had to shut off the electrical current to complete the task safely.

“It took longer than expected,” Hanson said, indicating it began to rain and snow while crews were working. “It was sloppy out there from what I understand and conditions weren’t great.” Hanson said the accident occurred at approximately 3 p.m. and power was restored to the approximate 1300 customers affected by 9:15 p.m.

This morning, 900 MDU customers were again without power because a piece of equipment called a recloser was tripped somewhere on a line.

“It’s like a safety mechanism to indicate there’s a problem on the line,” Hanson explained. “It basically shuts down when the power being fed from that line makes it seem like something might be wrong. It could be a power surge, uneven voltage, or just anything that’s not usual.”

This morning, crews patrolled the line and found a tree limb that had fallen and damaged a transformer, causing the outage. “It’s probably a lot of the same customers this morning,” Hanson said. As of print time, repairs had begun and electrical service was anticipated to be restored shortly.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 9:32 a.m. to include the cause of the second outage and input from Mullinax, Inc.

By |March 7th, 2014|

About the Author:

Tracee Davis joined the staff at The Sheridan Press in July of 2013. She covers business, energy and public safety. Tracee grew up in Kemmerer and has lived in several locations both in the U.S. and overseas. Her journalism training stems from her military service.