Xcel Energy says it's making "substantial progress" on its Fargo electric system upgrades

Sep 13, 2017

Xcel Energy said it has made very good progress in improving the reliability of its electric service in Fargo.

In the recent past, customers have complained about power outages. And the North Dakota Public Service Commission ordered Xcel to give customers who have had three or more outages in a calendar year a refund.

Xcel’s Mark Nisbet said the Cap-X transmission line – which runs from the Monticello nuclear plant in Minnesota to the Mapleton substation has helped with reliability.

"We've also made the first strides toward bringing a new loop in from the Maple River substation to the Red River substation in north Fargo," Nisbet said. "We're getting the planning done for that $20 million project. That would truly give us more options to keep the lights on around town."

Nisbet also said the utility has installed a number of “intelliruptor” switches.

"If there's a fault on the line, that intelligent switch will figure out where th fault is, and get at least half that service back in less than a minute's time," Nisbet said. "Rather tan waiting for a crew, if we can re-route power around the fault, we can have a large share of those customers back on."

Nisbet said Xcel has changed its tree trimming protocol, to help prevent branches from falling on power lines and causing outages. And he said a lot of progress has been made in replacing underground power lines.