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WAPA helping to restore SD system after blizzard

Upper Great Plains linemen, dispatchers respond to north-central Christmas blizzard

CONTACT: Teresa Plant or Jen Neville,, 720.962.7411

***NOTE: Status updates on restoration available on outage webpage***

LAKEWOOD, Colorado – A devastating ice storm and severe blizzard conditions have blanketed the Upper Great Plains region with snow and ice, knocking out power to many communities. This week, Western Area Power Administration has been working closely with local utilities to restore power.

“Restoring electricity to customers is our top priority. We recognize the enormous impact a loss of electric power has on everyone. We are working to resolve the problems power customers in the Summit South Dakota, area are facing as a result of the devastating ice storm and blizzard conditions this week,” said Senior Vice President and UGP Regional Manager Bob Harris.

WAPA crews have been working since Dec. 26 to repair the federal grid, which supplies bulk power to local utilities, and those utilities then distribute the electricity using their local distribution system. The storm impacted WAPA’s Summit Substation, as well as several high-voltage transmission lines in the local area.

“We are doing everything we can to restore service to our Summit Substation, including calling employees in from holiday vacation and dispatching employees and equipment from across South Dakota and North Dakota to repair our transmission line facilities,” said Harris. “Our workers are dedicated to doing whatever it takes to safely restore service as soon as we can.” 

WAPA has deployed linemen from across South Dakota and North Dakota to work closely with operations staff at WAPA’s Watertown Dispatch Center to restore power and coordinate activities with neighboring utilities.

At this point, WAPA anticipates its facilities will be back up within the next few days. Provided enough ice melts off of the wires, the Summit Substation will be powered up then as well. Residents are encouraged to continue checking with their local utilities for estimates on restoration activities.

Safety Reminder
As a reminder to everyone in the area, do not approach downed electrical lines. Never touch a downed line even if residential power is “out,” as during restoration efforts downed lines may become energized. If you come across a downed electrical line, contact your local utility immediately.


About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power from 57​ federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at

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