PSC says Xcel Energy getting better at responding to power outages

Apr 30, 2015

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say a power outage in Fargo Tuesday shows a marked improvement in how Xcel Energy responds to these incidents.

Commissioner Brian Kalk says Xcel estimated 23,000 customers lost power initially, most in downtown Fargo.

“Eighteen thousand of those customers came back on line very very quickly," said Kalk. "Within minutes.”

Kalk says the other 5100 were out for about 45 minutes , because of damage to a substation, probably caused by an animal. But he says new equipment the PSC directed the company to install worked well for the majority of customers.

“The Intelliteam switches that Xcel installed in 2012 -- those worked the way they were supposed to," said Kalk. "It was a feeder-level outage. Twenty-three thousand customers lost power -- boom. The switches re-routed power, and 18,000 customers came back on very quickly."

And Kalk says Xcel scrambled quickly to fix the substation damage.

In the recent past, the PSC had fielded a number of complaints about Xcel power outages, and directed the utility to step up its game. Kalk says it appears Xcel has.