Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative would like to thank our members for their patience and unwavering support during the winter storm that wreaked havoc across our entire system this past weekend. Not only were you asked to stay in your home due to a pandemic crisis, you had to do this without the necessity of electricity. We truly understand the inconvenience and frustration that this has caused.
At its peak, nearly 11,000 MLEC members were affected by power outages due to this storm. Outages were scattered over a large portion of our service territory, sparing less than 20% of our service territory. In addition to our distribution system outages, Great River Energy also experienced transmission outages that impacted our Palisade and Vineland substations for nearly 17 hours. On day one, MLEC crews worked 18 hours straight attempting to restore power, while still practicing social distancing protocol from their co-workers and the general public that desperately wanted to know the status of the power outage.
Great River Energy crews were dispatched and restored the outage at the Palisade substation on Sunday at 8:30 pm; however, during the restoration efforts our Aitkin, Kimberly, and McGregor substations also experienced shorter power outages.
A big battle that crews faced was restoring a section of power line only to have the snow load fall off the powerlines, causing them to snap together. This reaction would cause the power line to fail again. All total, we had 14 broken poles, several anchors broken off, and many miles of downed powerlines.
MLEC would like to extend a special thank you to Aitkin Public Utilities and Crow Wing Power for sending four additional line crews to our restoration efforts. Cooperation among Cooperatives is one of the seven cooperative principles. This rang true when MLEC needed more line workers to get the job done as quickly and safely as possible.
We do all we can to prevent major outages, but sometimes mother nature has other plans. To report power outages, use the SmartHub App from your mobile phone/tablet or call MLEC's toll-free number (24/7) at 800-450-2191. Our outage map and useful tips are always available online on our website at www.mlecmn.net/outage-center.
MLEC is a not-for-profit, electric distribution cooperative owned by the members we serve. We provide service to over 13,000 members in parts of Aitkin, Crow Wing, and Mille Lacs counties. Our headquarters is located at 36559 US Highway 169, one mile east of Aitkin, MN. Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative is an equal opportunity provider and employer.