Ice creates potential for power outages

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(ABC 6 News) – A powerful winter storm is bringing a mix of everything from rain to snow, and even freezing rain and wind.

The ice accumulating on tree branches and power lines are just some conditions that could lead to potential power outages. 

On Tuesday morning Rochester Public Utilities and People’s Energy Co-Op both reporting a few outages, affecting dozens of customers, and there is the possibly of more throughout the day.

As ice and snow accumulates, tree branches become heavy, enough to the point where they could snap and fall onto power lines, knocking out power for an entire area.

“The bigger issue with ice is when the wind picks up,” says Gwen Stevens, Director of Co-Op Relations with People’s Energy Cooperative. “So you can still have ice on power lines, which is no issue, but if the wind picks up that can cause quite a bit of issues with the lines swaying in the wind, potentially hitting one another and that’s when it can cause outages.”

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s office is reminding people that if they experience a power outage to not call 9-1-1, and instead call your utility company and report it. The Freeborn Mower Electric Co-Op is also reminding everyone to make safety a priority.

“First and foremost, we want to stress safety for our members,” says Allan Stadheim, Director of Engineering & Operations with Freeborn Mower Electric Co-OP. “So, staying away from any down lines, broken polls, fallen tree limbs, things like that. Don’t travel if you don’t have to, but if you do see a down line or a down limb and you think power is affected by all means give us a call.”