Ice Wreaks Havoc on Power Lines, Proves Value of Power Protection

December 23, 2015

By Susan J. Campbell - Power Protection Contributing Editor

Winter seems to be waiting in the wings in the Midwest. Generally by Christmas, we’ve seen at least a light dusting of snow, if not a foot or two to get us in the holiday spirit. This year, we’ve instead seen a lot of wind and rain. When not cold, this weather isn’t that bothersome. When the temperatures drop, you have the potential for added problems that cloud impact power protection.

This happened in December six years ago. It wasn’t yet cold enough for snow, but the rain fell throughout the night as temperatures dropped. We woke up to very thick ice covering everything. Turning on the morning news, we also learned that several areas had already lost power because of the ice and thought we had dodged the bullet. No sooner than that thought emerged our power went out and stayed out for two days.

For some around us, power protection would have been more than critical as they stayed without power for longer than we did. Workers were brought in from other cities to assist the utility companies, but we hadn’t seen a storm like this in years. Ice-encased tree branches everywhere were falling on power lines, and roads had yet to be cleared for trucks to get to all problem areas.

That particular storm was unusual and we haven’t had another one since, but you can still see some of the results, including damage to our trees that has never really been repaired with new growth. It did, however, force us to make different decisions moving forward on how we would ensure the right power protection if we were in a similar situation in the future.

In Idaho this week, the story is very similar. According to a KMTV report, ice was causing havoc for those trying to restore power. As soon as one line was repaired, another went down. Roughly 10,000 customers lost power on Sunday and as weather conditions continued to deteriorate, the number of outages and affected customers changed by the hour. While crews were out trying to get customers back online, the terrain and the weather weren’t helping.

Idaho Power Company spokesman Brad Bowlin said “There are two major transmission lines serving the area. One of those went down on Saturday because of heavy ice buildup. On Sunday, around 11 a.m., the second line went down, also due to ice. At the peak, the outages affected more than 10,000 customers for several hours on Sunday. By 3 p.m., we were able to clear some ice from the first transmission line and begin bringing people back online.”

Such outages point to the importance of investing in power protection solutions from a company like Minuteman. Its uninterrupted power supply solutions not only ensure you can stay online, but also save your data before an interruption occurs. Winter is the perfect time to get prepared for power outages, but do it before you’re left in the dark.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson