UPDATE: A power outage that began overnight and briefly grew to include nearly 1,200 MDU customers in Bismarck is over.
A spokesperson for Montana-Dakota Utilities says crews finished repairing a broken conductor at 7:45 AM, restoring power to the homes in central Bismarck.
The power outage required a team of five to endure dangerous wind chills to fix the conductor near Washington Street and Interstate Avenue.
The problem was first reported before 5:00 AM. Homes in central Bismarck, including along Washington Street and near Interstate 94, were affected.
The repair crew was deployed shortly after 5:00 AM.
MDU says a “broken center phase conductor” was to blame for the outage, which came amid some of the coldest temperatures our region has seen in years.
Officials say the sub-zero weather made repairs more difficult.
The MDU spokesperson says the extreme cold weather most likely played a role in causing the outage.
FROM 7:25 AM:
About 700 more homes in Bismarck have lost power while MDU repair crews work to fix a problem in their power grid, bringing the total number of affected customers to 1,178.
A spokesperson for Montana-Dakota Utilities says a “broken center phase conductor” is to blame for the outage.
MDU has deployed a team of five to fix the problem, which is affecting homes in central Bismarck near Washington Street and the North Dakota Capitol. The power provider says shutting off power to additional homes is the only way to safely address the problem. We’re told the bitter cold makes the problem more difficult to resolve.
MDU hopes that power will be restored by about 8:30 AM.
FROM 5:00 AM:
Montana Dakota Utilities is working in the extreme cold to restore power to hundreds of Bismarck residents.
According to the MDU power outage map on its web page, approximately 358 homes are without power as of 4:55 AM central time.
The report says homes “South of I-94,” and around “East N Washington Street, west of State Street” are affected.
A spokesperson for MDU says five crew members have been deployed to restore power.
We’re told that a wire was broken and needs to be replaced. That step will restore power to some customers.
Following that, the crew will attempt to reset a piece of power infrastructure that would restore power to the rest of the customers affected.
MDU says it does not have a clear timetable on when that work will be done.
The cause of the outage is still unknown.