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Forum staff reports, Published December 31 2010

UPDATED: Power restored in Amenia, N.D.; former mayor says it 'wasn't all that bad'

AMENIA, N.D. – Donna Myers and her husband Galen used the wood-burning stove in their three-season attached room to heat the house.

“We have a generator, but it wouldn’t start, of all days,” she said. “My husband’s working on it now, in case (the electricity) goes tonight again.”

Power was restored this morning to this city after 73 customers lost electricity Thursday afternoon and hunkered down overnight with blizzard conditions and subzero temperatures outside.

Otter Tail Power crews, who had to turn around Thursday because of blizzard conditions, arrived this morning and had power restored between 8:30 and 9 a.m., company spokeswoman Cris Kling said.

Kling said a thrown breaker that wouldn’t hold when reset Thursday – apparently because of ice – held this morning, so it was a relatively simple fix.

Myers said she and her husband took turns throughout the night getting up to stock the stove and even used it to heat up a kettle of barbecued pork for a warm supper.

By 6 a.m., the temperature in the house had dropped to 55 degrees, she said.

“We didn’t mind it at all, because we were nice and warm in our back room,” she said.

Myers, 71, a former mayor of Amenia, said the town also was without water overnight because power outages affect a pumping station.

Still, she said, the outage “wasn’t all that bad.”

“We’ve been used to it, because in ’97 we were without power for a week. So, we’re kind of seasoned,” she said.

Xcel Energy had 930 customers without power, mainly in north Fargo, at 6 a.m. today. As of 6:27 a.m., about 50 to 60 customers remained without service.

Reports of outages began Thursday as ice-coated lines galloped and slapped together in the strong winds, Xcel spokeswoman Bonnie Lund said in a news release.

Crews were dealing with broken cross arms, downed wires and other damaged equipment throughout the night, she said. At one point, more than 3,900 customers were without service.

Xcel hopes to make more progress in the daylight, Lund said, adding if conditions allow, the company plans to bring additional resources to the area.