May Outage Update
To our St. Croix Electric Cooperative members affected by recent power outages:
We understand your frustration and displeasure with the recent power outages, and we want you to know we are doing all we can to ensure your service continues uninterrupted.
We know it’s more than a mere inconvenience when you lose power. Please understand every day we work to reduce outages and improve our reliability.
Several hundred of our members in the towns of Hudson and Warren have experienced what amounts to an average six years’ worth of outages over the past several weeks. This is not a representative picture of our service record. The outage statistics for our entire system shows an average of less than two hours per member without power per year.
Before putting detailed information out about the outages, we wanted to be sure we understood ourselves why they happened.
Below you can find information specific to each of the incidences:
- Thursday, May 10: At 9:45 p.m. a motor vehicle ran into an Xcel Energy power pole at the intersection of State Highway 12 and 140th Street east of Roberts in the Town of Warren. Xcel lines fell into SCEC lines, leaving 765 SCEC members without power for two hours.
- Saturday, May 26: At 5:30 p.m. a downline breaker opened at Hwy. 65 north of Roberts, leaving approximately 340 members in the towns of Hudson and Warren without power. Crews were unable to locate the source of the outage, and at 9:15 p.m. began switching procedures to restore power to small groups as they worked to find and isolate the problem. All power was restored as of 3:30 a.m. Sunday, May 27 after a newly-discovered faulty breaker at the Warren substation was changed out.
When the same downline breaker tripped again on Monday, May 28 at 1 p.m. the cause for both outages was determined to have been high demand and NOT to a breaker fault. All power was restored as of 4:30 p.m. that day.
About a month ago SCEC added 175 accounts to the Warren line to be able to remove a ½ mile section of line for a St. Croix County construction project to rebuild McCutcheon Road west of County Rd A in the Town of Hudson. That additional demand and the extremely high temperatures and humidity contributed to the breaker opening and the difficulty restoring power.
SCEC did further testing and evaluating when regular business resumed Tuesday to be sure there are no other issues handling the energy load.
With the rain and cooler temperatures coming, we expect to be able to handle the situation until the line is back to normal. We can begin rebuilding a portion of the line this week.
- Tuesday, May 29: Just after 4:30 p.m. a tree fell into a powerline along 100th Avenue between 93rd and 99th streets in the Town of Warren between Roberts and Hudson, affecting not only the same group of members as the weekend outages but an additional 100 members. Law enforcement and fire department personnel responded, and when an SCEC crew arrived on-site, arcing had already burned through one phase of line and was moving onto the next. A second SCEC crew was dispatched and all power was restored by 7:20 p.m.
In March of this year the cooperative’s right-of-way crew had cut and trimmed trees along the route of the line where the tree fell into the line when high winds hit the area.
SCEC strives to provide excellent electric service to our members. In spite of our good intentions, however, power outages do occur. Outages are most commonly caused by trees interfering with lines, severe weather, vehicle accidents, animals interfering with equipment, and mechanical malfunctions.
In the event of an unplanned power outage you can use your smartphone, tablet or battery-powered computer to access the following information: