Severe storms cause major damage, outages

A line of severe thunderstorms damaged several Great River Energy, Xcel Energy and ITC transmission lines in the Faribault and Owatonna, Minn., areas in late September, causing widespread outages.

A line of thunderstorms damaged areas and caused widespread power outages in southern Minnesota.

A line of thunderstorms caused widespread power outages in southern Minnesota.

Two Great River Energy transmission lines were affected by the storm, which damaged 20 structures along the Valley Grove tap 69-kilovolt transmission line. Great River Energy, Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) and contractor crews worked for several days to restore power.

As is the case during all storms, system operations employees tracked it, anticipated outages and worked with crews to identify and repair damages. Great River Energy crews were dispatched to the area and worked overnight on repairs to help restore power. Great River Energy also reached out to contractors for additional help in clearing trees and debris, and repairing the damaged structures.

In addition to the outages caused by damage to the transmission system, high winds and rain also caused significant damage on Great River Energy’s member-owners cooperatives’ distribution systems. Twenty-four distribution substations were without power for BENCO Electric Cooperative, Goodhue County Cooperative Electric Association, Federated Rural Electric Association, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative and SWCE. SWCE experienced the most damage to its distribution system, at one point having as many as 7,365 of its 11,478 meters without power.