Power crews in many parts of the Panhandle are out again today replacing electric poles and lines brought down by the ice, snow and high winds this past holiday weekend.
The transmission grid suffered damage throughout the region, with snowdrifts complicating repair efforts, meaning some public power district and electric company customers spent Sunday without electricity.
High West Energy Marketing and Communications Manager Jim East tells Rural Radio News 700 of their members were still without power at the noon hour, primarily in the Sidney, Kimball, Potter and Hemingford areas.
East says the latest storm was snapping power poles like toothpicks. “It’s not like anything we’ve seen before, and these were not poles in bad shape. A lot of them had been repaired or replaced in recent years, we have an infrastructure investment plan that we’ve been working on for years now,” says East, “In March and April when we had those storms, our system weathered it very well.”
PREMA and Wheat Belt Public Power also say they still have customers without service, the latter of which had 300 households without power at midday Monday and more than 100 poles left to repair or replace. Officials with several power agencies and companies say line technicians are working hard to restore electricity, but even with assistance from other electrical operations the damage is such that it is possible there will be some who may not have power restored by Monday night.
Power poles and distribution facilities were not the only losses during the storm, as the Eagle Communications tower on the Table south of Chadron had collapsed, and a 350 foot PREMA communications tower in Lakeside was destroyed as a result of the storm.