For Power Utilities, Rain and Snow is Fine……Ice, Not So Much

BEATRICE –  Power utilities deal with storms frequently, but among the options, ice isn’t the best.

:16                  “the equipment”

Beatrice Electric Superintendent Pat Feist says his department is keeping a close watch on a winter storm expected to roll through the central plains.  The Beatrice area is in a zone that could receive a mix of rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

He says when an area receives between a quarter and half-inch of ice, that’s when you start worrying about electric lines and equipment.

:07                  “extra weight”

Feist says ice also weighs down tree branches, which can cause problems for electric lines as branches and limbs break, and fall across lines.    Feist says the city has tried to mitigate that problem over the years, through a tree-trimming program to keep branches away from utility lines and equipment.

:19                  “bad weather comin”

Feist says the worst combination is heavy ice and strong winds, which cause power lines to gallop, causing breakage.  He says the Beatrice Electric Department regularly has two people on call and when storms approach like this one…the department makes sure more personnel are nearby to respond to any power problems.

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