NW Benson loses power durng Sunday’s frigid cold

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On the coldest morning in nearly seven years the power in northwest Benson went out. It would stay out from around 8:30 Sunday morning until nearly 6 that night.

At the time the power went out, the temperature in Benson was near a minus 25 degrees after hitting a low of 28 below zero. The wind chill was a dangerous 40 and 45 below. While temperatures “warmed” through the morning to a minus 8 degrees by noon, the temperature never got above zero as city electric crews worked into the late afternoon to find out what was causing the outage.

As soon as the power went out, the city’s on-call electric crew responded, City Manager Rob Wolfington told the Benson City Council Monday night. As the crew tried to fix what it thought was causing the problem things continued to go wrong. A burned out transformer was replaced, but there were other problems down the line that caused fuses, some the size of a baseball bat, to blow, he said.

Some replacement parts the city crews tried to install in the frigid conditions broke, Wolfington said. Fortunately, the city had a good supply of the parts it would need, he added.

As the problems persisted, the other members of the city electric crew were called in to help. It wasn’t until nearly 3 p.m. that they fully understood what the problem was, Wolfington said. At about the same time, the city was preparing to call in another electric line crew to install new wire, he added.

City electric crews did their best in extremely cold conditions, Wolfington said. Council Members agreed, praising their efforts in extremely tough conditions.
 

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