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

From the Line Department


Our pole inspection this last year covered an older area of our system this last summer, where many poles were over 50 years old. Due to this, we have seen a much higher number of rejected poles. We have changed out 116 of the 124 rejected poles over the past winter.

Our crews have been extremely busy over the last couple of weeks, working more than 160 hours per man with the multiple storms that have hit our system. I must say this is one of the worst stretches we have seen for multiple storms in a short period of time, that have caused us large amounts of damage from wind and lightning. Normally this time of year we respond to approximately 100 or so power outages, this year we have restored power to over 230 separate power outages with more than half occurring from June 29, 2018 to July 9, 2018.

To recap some of the major damage we have seen out on the system, it includes a large number of tall, old timber falling from way off of the right of way, breaking the lines and ripping them off the poles and, in some cases, breaking the poles off. The lightning damage we have seen is also much larger than normal as this has blown surge arrestors and elbows apart, causing damage to the underground power cable itself. This doesn’t show up right away, causing some underground cable faults that go out as far as 2 to 3 weeks from the time the lightning happened.

As our crews were out restoring power to members, we did see a large use of generators being used on the system. We would like to remind everyone that the cooperative requires a disconnect switch from our system before turning on the generator. This can backfeed through the transformer, putting power on downed powerlines. This can be fatal to our guys and the public. If you have any questions in regard to installing a standby generator or would like general information about them please give us a call. We would be glad to help make sure you have a good quality and safe installation to protect both your family and our crews.

Also, please if you see a tree down or by the power line please call us and let our crews cut the tree off from the line, under certain circumstances the power lines can still be energized and this will cause you great harm or death.

In closing please remember safety is not always the quickest way to do it, but it is the best way to do it.

Return to the August 2018 Issue