Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 21 NO. 8  -  August 2018

CEO Report


When I made it to the office I immediately went for an assessment, Daryl informed me we had roughly 1400 Member-Owners out. Communications to one sub was down and the guys were all out working on the system. To say all hands-on deck is a bit of an understatement; we tested our new outage system, our interns got an opportunity to see the importance of electricity to our Member-Owners we serve. I had a helpless feeling, there should be something more I could help with. When the call came in that people were disturbing a downed power line, I knew this was something I could assist with. I went to the location and didnít find anyone by the downed line thankfully. I grabbed a chainsaw before leaving the office, so I could cut the trees off the roads the crews had to travel, keeping a safe distance from any downed lines.

Iím here to tell you folks, there was a mess out there! The winds took trees down, twisted lines, knocked fuses out, and created havoc that was costly and frustrating to all. Friday night we had all but about 400 Member-Owners back on. Saturday morning it happened again, oh and AGAIN! We had what we would consider three major events all inside of about 5 days.

Since the storms hit we have been working on recovery, trees, downed lines, broken equipment and poles. We had the chance to sit down with our linemen to discuss what went well, and what didnít, our number one discussion was safety. The biggest fear of our crews wasnít something they saw on the line, it was the safety of you, the Member! Please, let us handle the downed trees and lines! There was more than one story that the guys were shocked something bad didnít happen. Iíve talked about generators in the past, if they are hooked up wrong they can, and will backfeed a line without you knowing it. That line in the brush might just be 7200 Volts, and thatís nothing to take lightly. Itís a Minnesota nice thing, we all want to help. Unless you are trained and have the tools to work on the lines, please take caution and stay away from downed lines and trees on the lines.

Daryl, Tina, and I will attend a FEMA meeting in Grand Rapids this morning. The impact to our area and the neighbors around us was great enough to warrant Federal assistance. I will keep you posted on how this meeting turns out.

Iím very grateful for all the hard work that went into restoration of our grid. There are a lot of paperwork, phone calls, and discussions with Member-Owners that have been put out by the storms. We are extremely accustomed to hitting the switch and the security of electricity is there. We worry about the fridge, freezer and daily life without the convenience of electricity. Our crews put in long hours in the heat and bugs to restore our lives back to normal. They do this with a sense of pride in their work and knowledge of their system. System knowledge is grossly underrated, knowing where the line is fed from, and where it is going is so important. Knowing the system well isnít something you can learn overnight; it takes years. When I visit with the crews they almost talk in code. Lake names, road names (that you wonít find on ANY map),and nicknames for areas that is just part of the job. Again, Iím grateful for a job well done!

By your side,

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