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Nebraska utility to restore power lines near Loup City, Tekamah, after storm brings 100-mph winds

From the June 5, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published June 5, 2014

By Jeannine Anderson

What the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) called "an unrelenting storm front" moved across Nebraska on Tuesday and into the early hours yesterday, damaging a number of the utility's transmission lines in the Loup City and Tekamah areas and causing numerous outages.

The storm’s impact began mid-day on Tuesday (June 3), "with primary damage occurring in the north central part of the state, where front winds in excess of 100 miles per hour around the Ainsworth areas were reported," NPPD said. "The storm traveled eastward, accompanied by heavy rain, extensive thunder and lightning, hail, and some reports of tornadoes. Norfolk even reported softball-sized hail."

As of yesterday morning, 700 customers served by NPPD were out of service in Tekamah and another 122 in Craig. Power was expected to be back in both communities by the end of the day. 

An estimated 5,000 NPPD customers were without power between between 2 p.m. on Tuesday and yesterday morning. Communities with outages included Bassett, Long Pine, Norfolk, Oakland, Tekamah, Shelton, Geneva, Nehawka, Loup City, Craig, York, Pawnee City, Crab Orchard, and Lewiston. Norfolk had the largest outage, with roughly 1,400 customers affected. A farmer was temporarily trapped when a powerline between Oakland and Tekamah line landed on his tractor. The individual was unharmed and was removed safely after NPPD de-energized the line, the utility said.

Eight structures were damaged on NPPD’s 115-kV line between Oakland and Tekamah, and patrols were underway yesterday to continue to assess the impact. Four H-frame structures on NPPD’s Oakland-to-Winslow 115-kV line were also damaged. The utility said it did not yet have cost estimates, or estimates of when power would be restored in those areas. 

NPPD crews from Kearney "started cleanup and line construction this morning on a 115-kV line between Loup City and North Loup where six structures were damaged," NPPD said yesterday. "A North Loup to Spaulding 115-kV line was out of service but was restored overnight. Another seven structures were reported down on a 69-kV line from Ainsworth to O’Neill. This line is expected to be back in service Thursday afternoon."

Numerous sub-transmission outages  were reported involving NPPD’s wholesale customers of Cornhusker Public Power District (PPD), Loup Valley PPD, Polk County PPD, Southern PD, Perennial PPD, Burt County PPD, Norris PPD, Butler PPD, Niobrara Valley EMC, and KBR PPD.

NPPD’s grid is designed with redundancy, to move power through multiple lines (or feeds); however, a major storm can damage multiple lines and structures, leaving sections of lines or communities without power until the lines are rebuilt or power is provided through another means. To help Nebraskans contact their service providers, NPPD hosts an interactive database on its website for identifying the utility serving a respective community. 



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Vice President, Integrated Media and Communications
Meena Dayak

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro