Summer storms damage electric system

Meeker storm damage June 2017

High winds snapped wooden poles in the Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association service area. Photo courtesy of Meeker Cooperative Light and Power Association.

Storms tore through central Minnesota June 11, damaging Great River Energy transmission lines and substations, and contributing to significant power outages in 13 member cooperative service areas.

Meeker Cooperative Light Association and Kandiyohi Power Cooperative experienced the longest total outage times, followed by McLeod Cooperative Power, Connexus Energy, Stearns Electric Association and Goodhue County Cooperative Electrical Association.

By re-routing the flow of electricity around the areas of damage, power had been restored to all of Great River Energy’s substations by the following day. Many residential members remained without power as the cooperatives completed restoration work on their power lines and substations.

Outages resulting from the storms rank among the most significant since Great River Energy was formed in 1999.

The work was not done, however, as another round of storms had hit other member cooperative service areas the following day. Those storms left seven structures in need of repair in the Agralite Electric Cooperative, Nobles Cooperative Electric and Brown County Rural Electric Association areas.

Mid-July storms and a tornado caused outages among members of Connexus Energy, based in Ramsey, Minn. The cooperative restored service to nearly all members by the following day.