Power companies brace for winter storm - KOTA Territory News

Power companies brace for winter storm

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submitted by Mutch Usera, Black Hills Corp

Black Hills Power reminds customers to stay safe during hazardous winter weather conditions and offers tips to prepare customers if there are weather-related service interruptions. With the forecast for severe weather beginning Friday, Black Hills Power employees are prepared for any weather-related service issues and necessary restoration efforts.

The National Weather Service is forecasting snow and frigid cold temperatures in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota from Friday through Monday.

Although a key component of the company's preparedness includes constant monitoring of weather forecasts, much of the company's ability to respond quickly is the result of actions Black Hills Power takes before severe weather hits, including:

  • Developing staffing plans to provide 24-hour outage response and a 24-hour service outage center that dispatches Black Hills Power crews.
  • Coordinating efforts with local emergency officials.
  • Providing ongoing service restoration updates to customers.

"Safe, reliable service is our priority. We regularly inspect and maintain our system to ensure reliability and safety," said Vance Crocker, vice president of operations for Black Hills Power. "Regardless of whether power is on or off, never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line, and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized. Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line."

If you see a downed power line, immediately call Black Hills Power's 24-hour customer service number at 800-742-8948.

If the power does go out, Black Hills Power offers the following advice to customers:

  • First, see if your neighbors have lights. If they do, check for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker in your home. If your neighbors don't have lights or you can't locate the problem, contact Black Hills Power at 800-839-8197 or go to the "report an outage or problem" banner at www.blackhillspower.com. Black Hills Power's outage reporting system is automated, so when customers go through the process over the phone, the system logs their outage information, and Black Hills Power will dispatch crews to restore power as quickly as possible.
  • Leave a lamp or radio switched on so you'll know when electric service is restored.
  • Flip your porch-light switch on. This will help speed the power restoration process, as Black Hills Power crews will be able to quickly confirm that your power is back on without knocking on your door.
  • Do not use charcoal grills to heat your home or for cooking indoors. Dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause serious injury or death.
  • If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer's safety and operating guidelines. Be sure to operate the generator in a well-ventilated area. Never operate a generator inside your home or in your garage. Again, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause serious injury or death.
  • Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries installed to warn you of potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.

More information about electric safety can be found at www.blackhillspower.com or visit us at Facebook/Black Hills Power.

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518 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD 57701

Telephone: 605.342.2000
Fax: 605.342.7305

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