Power restored to rural Jerauld County residents
PIERRE – Crews assisting with storm repairs at six South Dakota electric cooperatives continue to make steady progress Saturday as they sought to restore power to about 2,000 homes. Power in the Wessington Springs area was restored to the last Central Electric Power Co. customer on Thursday night, January 25. Some customers in the area were without electricity for ab0ut a week. Central Electric crews installed 50 new poles –covering a distance of about four miles– to reach the final Jerauld County customer and restore their power.
Grand Electric Cooperative hopes to restore power to the last 15 of its members Sunday. However, to do so, the cooperative needs to set 140 more poles in deep snow in remote locations today and Sunday morning. The cooperative in northwestern South Dakota was able to restore power to 15 homes on Friday.
Another cooperative reported that to make repairs on two wire breaks in one area, a four-mile path had to be dug through the snow to access the damage. The fix resulted in several homes receiving power.
More than 650 workers assisting at the cooperatives come from cooperatives, public power districts, municipal utilities and private contractors in 10 states. Additionally, the South Dakota National Guard, area farmers and students from Mitchell Technical Institute are also assisting the crews. This is in addition to the impacted cooperatives’ own work forces of more than 100 people.
Repairs are expected to take several days before power is restored to the nearly 2,000 rural homes still without power.
The storm knocked down in excess of 8,200 power poles across eastern, central and northern South Dakota. The storm also caused thousands of wire breaks and damaged other infrastructure.