City Of 4,500 Loses All Power (Not weather related) : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

City Of 4,500 Loses All Power Residents And Businesses Left In The Dark

ST. JAMES, Minn., Updated 1:06 p.m. CST February 23, 2000 -- The city of St. James in south central Minnesota lost all power Wednesday morning.

The total power loss was preceded by a brief power outage at 7:15 a.m. and then entirely at 8:30 a.m.

The city manager for the 4,500-person community told WCCO-Radio that the outage is affecting some of the town's major industries.

"Some of our major industries, one of which is a meat processor, are faced with a huge company loss by the fact that they have meat in process that might have to be destroyed," he said.

He added that the school district also will lose a day of school.

WCCO-Radio reported that the problem appears to be with an underground Northern States Power line. NSP officials report that there have been about 16,000 brief power outages in the Twin Cities since midnight.

Previous Story On Twin Cities Outages:

Some Suburbs Are Having Power Problems Jay Maxwell, Staff Writer February 23, 2000, 10:32 a.m. CST

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- Tens of thousands of homes in a few southern Twin Cities suburbs are experiencing brief power outages again Wednesday morning.

"We're having some blinks on the transmission lines, some temporary outages, and that's coming into our substation so it's affecting a large part of our service territory," Joe Norman, a spokesman for Dakota Electric Association, told WCCO-Radio.

The problem is created by a lack of precipitation this winter causing a buildup of sand, dust and other particles on the insulators. According to the company's Web site, the outages may continue until rain or snow cleans off the contamination.

The rain that started falling at about 9 a.m. was expected to continue coming down through Thursday morning.

The outages last about 10-20 seconds and are affecting homes mainly in Burnsville, Eagan and Lakeville. Similar problems were reported Tuesday morning.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 24, 2000


This is the press release from Dakota Electric.

Transmission faults cause momentary outages for Dakota Electric, Feb. 23, 2000 FARMINGTON, Minn. (February 23, 2000, 9 a.m.)  Dakota Electric Association has been working closely with its wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy (GRE), trying to solve the problem of momentary outages that have happened recently.

Several "blinks" occurred early morning Tuesday and Wednesday. Because the problem is on Great River Energys transmission lines leading to Dakota Electrics substations, the momentary outages affect a large number of people throughout Dakota Electrics system. The outages are due to insulators that have become contaminated throughout the winter with dirt and salt allowing electricity to arc or short over the insulators. GRE and Dakota Electric personnel are working on the situation. They will try to isolate the line that is causing the problems and receive electricity by other transmission lines. GRE and Dakota Electric crews have been patrolling the lines looking for other possible problems.

"Contaminated insulators tend to be somewhat common around the metro area with the large amount of traffic and the high use of salt on the roadways," Dakota Electrics System Control Manager Kevin Thompson said. "This type of fault occurs more commonly on higher voltage transmission lines than on lower voltage distribution lines like Dakota Electrics. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank customers for their patience in this situation."-

The brief outages may continue to be a problem until rain or snow moves through the area and cleans off the contamination. The momentary outages affected the greatest number of customers in Burnsville, Eagan and Lakeville while other customers around Dakota Electrics service territory also experienced temporary outages. Other utilities Dakota Electric has talked with have reported experiencing similar outages.

System may be clear of problems

FARMINGTON, Minn. (February 23, 2000, 4:30 p .m.)  Dakota Electric Association has not experienced any type of outage due to transmission faults since 9:30 this morning. The rain that moved through the metro area may have been enough to "cleanse" the insulators of contaminants. The salt and dirt contaminants, along with the high moisture content in the air, caused Great River Energys, power supplier for Dakota Electric, transmission lines to arc and short. These momentary transmission shorts cause brief outages  or "blinks"  at Dakota Electrics substations thus affecting many of Dakota Electrics customers. A lack of outages overnight and into Thursday morning would be a welcomed sign that the system is back to normal. Dakota Electric and Great River Energy apologize for the momentary outages and have worked to do everything possible to clear the problem for customers. While momentary outages were widespread throughout Dakota Electrics service territory, customers in Burnsville, Eagan and Lakeville were affected the most, approximately 40,000 customers at times. Other utilities Dakota Electric has talked with have reported experiencing similar outages.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 24, 2000.

Impressive work, Martin. I was somewhat disappointed when they blamed 16,000 (egads) outages since midnight on "sand, dust and other particles" but not fog. Alas, they came through at the end and included "moisture!"

-- Lee Maloney (, February 24, 2000.

Power Outage Blamed

13 Saint Paul schools are cancelling afternoon activities, due to power outages.

The outages are caused by the combination of road salt and fog, which is knocking out transformers in parts of the metro area.

This is a very strange story. I have never heard of fog and road salt knocking out transformers. Maybe I missed something in my 38 years as a meteorologist.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 24, 2000.

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