Farmer Goes A Week Without Power
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
April 18, 2013 6:19 PM
Two thousand power poles toppled in Nobles County, Minnesota under the weight of a thick layer of ice during last week’s storm.
Lineman there are still looking to restore power to the last remaining customers still in the dark.
“It’s complete devastation from one end of the county to the other,” said Lineman Jeff Ahlschlager.
Country roads outside of Rushmore are lined with down utility poles.
“I think about 100 miles of transmission lines, big ones, are still down,” described the general manager of Nobles Cooperative Electric.
Despite the downed lines, power makes it way to almost every home in the county.
But, on Michael Wagner's farm, he stands in a dark shed.
“You know it gets a little bit frustrating. The weather is probably more frustrating than not having the power,” said Wagner. Wagner lost power last Tuesday of last week then got it back this Tuesday. During a dinner he provided for the lineman to thank them, this current storm knocked out his power again.
Workers on Wagner's farms grind hay. This time last year, seeds were in the ground.
In the cold, dark, and the snow, they hope for spring to show up.
With the elements against Wagner, the very costly generator keeps running.
“The generators are expensive and the amount of fuel they are using is very expensive,” said Wagner.
But, Wagner's grateful for the men working just down the road.
“For the most part they've been fighting rain. They've been fighting ice. They've been fighting snow,” praised Wagner.
“It's part of the program. We live in Minnesota. You never know what it’s going to throw at you,” said Lineman Loren Sprague.
Normally, 10 linemen cover Nobles County, as many as 150 were used to help get the power back and running this past week. And as they finish wiring, the cleanup will begin soon.
“We got wire and poles laying in the fields on the edges of roads we got to clean all that up,” said Ahlschlager.