More than a dozen East River Electric Power Cooperative employees are traveling to the Black Hills this week to help restore power for thousands of customers after the recent snowstorm. East River Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative® headquartered in Madison, has sent 14 people to the Custer area to help Black Hills Electric Cooperative restore power and fix damaged power lines. East River's crew includes linemen and construction personnel, a mechanic and safety coordinator.
The personnel are from Madison, Beresford, Aberdeen and Miller, East River outposts. East River sent several pieces equipment such as dump trucks and skid steers equipped with tracks along with the crew that left for the Black Hills Sunday.
"When we're called in to help, our crews are ready and willing to assist our partners in the Black Hills recover from emergencies," said Larry DeKramer, East River's transmission, substation and dispatch manager. "We know when help is needed in our area those cooperative crews will be on the road to help us, so we're happy to send our crews to get the lights back on."
According to the South Dakota Rural Electric Association, Black Hills Electric Cooperative reported nearly 3,000 members without power and over 70 poles down across its service area. In all, the blizzard caused over 8,000 rural electric cooperative members to lose power and knocked over as many as 3,500 electric poles.