On Sunday, East River Electric Power Cooperative restored power to all of the cooperative’s wholesale power supply substations after severe weather caused extensive damages on May 12 throughout much of eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. East River Electric’s wholesale power supply service area covers eastern South Dakota and portions of western Minnesota, and high winds damaged the utility’s transmission power lines and substation infrastructure across much of their system. Although East River has reenergized its substations, some member consumers may remain out of power until their local distribution cooperative is able to repair power lines damages to their local distribution system.
At the height of the event on Thursday evening, 56 East River Electric substations as well as seven municipal customers served by East River were out of power across the cooperative’s service area. East River had over 200 transmission structures damaged spanning a range from Yankton, S.D. to Dumont, M.N. Repairs will continue on those broken transmission power line structures over the coming days. The cooperative’s transmission system is built such that, even if a transmission line is out of service, power can be rerouted to prevent power outages while the lines are being repaired.
“Thank you to the region’s cooperative consumers for your patience and understanding as we worked over the past few days to repair damages and restore power throughout the region,” said East River Electric General Manager and CEO Tom Boyko. “I would also like to thank our teams for their incredible work and dedication to safely restore our system following this severe weather event. As an example of the dedication shown by East River’s employees, in just a 12-hour span on Friday, employees energized 24 substations and restored power to more than 8,000 member consumers.”
The cooperative is reminding the public to never approach downed or damaged power lines and to always treat damaged lines as if they are energized.