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Teamwork helps restore electricity in South Dakota

Residents of Salem, South Dakota, may never have heard of a derecho, but they saw the widespread damage one caused recently.

A derecho (pronounced ‘deh-REY-cho’) is a widespread, long-lived wind event that is associated with a band of rapidly moving thunderstorms and causes powerful downdraft conditions. A derecho struck near the small eastern South Dakota community of Salem on Thursday, May 12, causing damage to homes, trees, buildings and power lines.

Under the terms of a mutual aid agreement between Black Hills Energy and Xcel Energy, our team quickly mobilized to help restore power to the area. A total of 11 of our employees responded to the May 13 request for mutual aid, including three, three-person line crews, a vehicle mechanic and a construction planner.

We also sent large and small bucket trucks, line trucks and a mechanic’s service truck to Salem. Our crew worked 16-hour shifts between Friday and Sunday to help restore service and repair broken poles. Materials and supplies were brought in by Xcel Energy.

Bo Secrest, operations manager in Rapid City, South Dakota, said teamwork is critical in the utility industry.

“Our crews are ready to assist other investor-owned utilities across the country whenever or wherever we may be called upon for help,” he said. “Natural disasters can cause devastating damage to a community’s electric system and safe, efficient restoration is key. We’re happy to support eastern South Dakota’s Xcel team because you never know when we might need that help in return.”

We are proud to partner with other utilities to help keep the power on for people in need!

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Positive Energy