Power Outages Widespread In Southeast Minn., Northeast Iowa

Posted at: 05/02/2013 8:08 AM
Updated at: 05/02/2013 6:39 PM
By: Dan Conradt/Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 NEWS) - Widespread outages are being blamed on the strange May snowstorm rolling through the area.

RPU reported thousands of outages in the Rochester area. Alliant Energy is working to restore power to thousands of customers in the Albert Lea area.

Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services is also continuing to restore power as they too are experiencing wide spread outages.

If anyone sees downed power lines, they are to assume they are energized.  Stay away and call your service provider.


Sometimes there's only so much you can do to prepare for a storm. So for utility crews, today's been a day of undoing what Mother Nature has done.

"It's caused some outages" said Austin Utilities General Manager Mark Nibaur.

But with only a handful of outages, Austin Utilities has fared better than most.

"Basically where trees may have come down into our secondary lines. For the most part our primary has been fine” Austin Utilities’ Mark Nibaur tells us.

Alliant Energy reported two rounds of outages early today, affecting about 47 hundred customers. And just off to the north:

"Owatonna has asked if we could assist their area. They've had a little more damage with more snow, so we sent a crew over there" Austin’s Mark Nibaur said.

And for some customers, repairing the damage could mean an out-of-pocket expense -- especially if there is damage at the house.

"The customer owns that meter loop as we call it, and if that is damaged a customer has to get ahold of an electrician to make those repairs” Mark Nibaur said. “That's part of the home."

“We've been out of power since very early this morning" said Austin-area resident Randy Berg.

He’s one of more than 800 members of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services to lose power.

"Nothing's come on or even flickered since then."

And for rural property, that poses some challenges.

"Since our water is pumped from a well, we don't have water, so that means no toilets, no running water of any kind. Our stove is electric, so we have nothing there, microwave, refrigerator is out" Randy Berg told us. But being uncomfortable doesn't necessarily mean being *miserable*. And Randy Berg's wife wasn't willing to give up her coffee.

"She used a candle and she supported her cup with a small grate to warm it up and it was steaming and she was saying, ingenious."