How RPU Tracks and Responds to Outages

Created: 06/19/2014 10:27 PM
By: Meghan Reistad

With recent severe weather, Rochester is no stranger to power outages.
"Last night, we lost power and nothing charged and all the clocks were going off," said Alyssa Roraff.
Power outages are reported to Rochester Public Utilities, the largest municipal utility operation in Minnesota.
"There's a lot behind the scenes that go on," said Communications Coordinator Tony Benson.
The System Operations Room is the heart of the Rochester Public Utilities operation. The room is equipped with a map board, weather tracking and outage system.
"It takes a lot of different people from within the organization to address a power outage," said Benson.
The room is also weather-proof and staffed 24 hours, 365 days a year.
"50 customers or 1,500, you still need all those resources and people available," said Benson.
Power outages are located in two ways. An alarm system alerts to irregularities or community members call in to report outages.
After the location of the power outages is identified, the process moves to the fleet garage.
From there, line trucks are sent out to remove trees, repair poles, or any other work need to get electricity back.
"Potential for an outage, or an issue, it's really getting all the resources ready to go in the case that there is an outage," said Benson.
Rochester Public Utilities works to get power back, but puts a top priority on safety.
"'When is my power going to be back on?' It has to go beyond that, it has to be, ‘how soon we will get the power on safety.’”
Twitter is now the main way of communication between Rochester Public Utilities and the community.
"You don't have your laptop, computer or desktop, but you have your phone. If it's charged up a little bit, there you go, you can keep up-to-date on what's going on," said Benson.
Rochester Public Utilities currently serves 50,000 customers.

More than 2 thousand customers were without power in Northwest Rochester Wednesday night. RPU encourages residents to always consider safety when it comes to power outages. Stay away from downed lines and call in to have the lines repaired.

You can track outages with RPU on their twitter account:

Photo: ABC 6 News