The windstorm that swept through Dairyland Power Cooperative’s service territory the night of Dec. 15 resulted in thousands of widespread power outages.
The storm downed approximately 70 structures across the Dairyland system. “Dairyland and our member cooperative crews did an extraordinary job responding safely to this extreme storm event,” said Ben Porath, Dairyland COO. “Working together with our System Operations personnel, Transmission Maintenance and member crews switched and sectionalized load to minimize outage impacts. Transmission Construction, Supply Chain, Field Operations, Right-of Way, Line Design and Administrative Services groups provided excellent system repair assistance. Most importantly, everyone put safety first at every step of the way.”
Porath noted that the majority of lost load was restored by the morning after the storm. Dairyland’s system was fully restored to normal operations on Sunday afternoon. “The efficiency of the coordinated response between Dairyland and our members is a testament to our team’s advance preparation, safe work practices, knowledge and skill,” said Porath.
During restoration, two command centers were established; one at Dairyland’s Harmony (Minn.) Service Center and one at the La Crosse Administration Building. The Harmony post coordinated crews, materials, equipment and repair progress. The La Crosse-based post set restoration priorities and assessed the overall restoration effort in coordination with MISO and neighboring utilities.
Additionally, four towers within Dairyland’s Telecommunications system were damaged by the high winds, impacting communications to seven sites. “Our hard-working teams had all system visibility restored by noon on Friday,” said Denny Hoskins, Manager, Telecommunications, SCADA & GIS.
Concern for Community: Dairyland donation supports Rotary Lights repair
The Dec. 15 derecho also caused severe damage to the Rotary Lights display in La Crosse’s Riverside Park. Dairyland’s Contributions Committee took quick action, joining the community in supporting rebuilding and repair efforts to the iconic holiday display with a $1,000 donation.