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Gays Mills power outages cause revealed
Icy Power Lines

GAYS MILLS - Multiple power outages occurring on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 12 were the result of galloping transmission wires, according to Kaya Freiman, a spokesperson for the American Transmission Company.

The high capacity 69,000-volt transmission wires began galloping in an area near Eastman about 6:30 p.m. last Tuesday. The result was a series of short outages ranging from minutes to 30 seconds to several minutes.

Freiman said she was aware of five outages that occurred between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. One longer outage of about eight minutes occurred around 9 p.m. 

The area affected included residences and businesses in Crawford County served by Alliant Energy.

“We had a total of 33 customers listed as having (reported) outages on the evening of February 12 in Crawford County,” according to Alliant spokesperson Scott Reigstad. “Fifteen in Gays Mills, 10 in Ferryville, four in Soldiers Grove, three in Eastman and one in Lynxville. 

“The first notice of an outage occurred on our system at 7:50 p.m. and we got the last contact regarding a customer being out at 9:46 p.m.,” Reigstad said. “It showed that the final customer was restored to service at 9:51 p.m. and after that time we do not show any more customers out for the rest of the night.

“The longest customer outage was 37 minutes and the shortest was three minutes,” Reigstad said. “More than half the outages lasted 10 minutes or less. Alliant Energy serves 6,063 electric customers in Crawford County, including 350 in Gays Mills, 90 in Eastman, 200 in Ferryville, 170 in Lynxville and 330 in Soldiers Grove.”

At the Independent-Scout office in Gays Mills, there were eight or more outages between 6:25 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The outages caused the newspaper to suspend operation, as the computer server was constantly failing for lack of power and then rebooting.

ATC spokesperson Kaya Freiman explained the 69-kilovolt transmission lines were galloping or moving extremely due to the winter storm and/or the accompanying strong winds.

When Alliant reported the customers’ outages to ATC, the operations center located the problem.

Ultimately, an Alliant Energy crew was dispatched to ATC transmission lines between Seneca and Eastman, according to Freiman. The crew de-energized the segment of line that was galloping. Power from those lines was re-routed to other lines.