By Brad Mosher
Transmission issues and a transformer problem caused a blackout April 29 throughout most of Hettinger County, and left some residents in the dark literally until the following morning.
According to Tracy Kruger of the Hettinger County Emergency Management office, the western half of the county was the first area to regain power.
“I talked to MDU (Montana-Dakota Utilities) and I also talked to Slope Electric. MDU called it transmission issues. Slope Electric reported that not all of their members were affected,” Kruger explained.
When it came to restoring power, the western part of the county was the first to come back online, she said. New England had power restored just under an hour after the outage. “The west had its power restored first and then it kind of came across (the county).
“When MDU restored power for Mott, Burt and Bentley around 12:30 a.m. it caused the transformer at Regent to burn out and they had to completely replace that transformer. It caused Regent to be without power until 5:30 a.m.
“They (Regent) were affected way longer than anyone else, but it was due to a transformer that blew out in the city,” Kruger explained.
The outage may have caused other problems for homeowners. Residents should also make sure they protect their possessions which use electricity, she added.
“When the power goes out, the surges and the brownouts when they try to reboot, the people should unplug their electronics and/or have a quality surge protector because electronics are effected greatly,” she explained.
“A power outage in our area is quite common. It happens quite frequently. Some people on certain lines, it happens more frequently, so they know what they need to do.”
The surges can damage the electronics and lots of money in repair costs, she said. “You have to take precautions to guard against that.
“Back in the day, appliances used to be very simple. Now, they have electronics and motherboards in all of the appliances and a power surge or brownout … it will not end well for appliances like those,” Kruger said. People who have the old-style appliances won”t have problems with surges burning out motherboards.
“People with the newer style appliances with all the electronics … it can really cause a big problem when the motherboards fry,” she explained.
It is a fact of life in North Dakota, Kruger said. “We know power is going to go out… with summer storms and things like that. People just need to remember we are past the winter and now we need to think about summer storms.”