Southwest U.S. snowstorms cause Moorhead power outages

power poles and lines in a snowy field
Part of the electric power distribution system in Moorhead, Minn., seen last week. Parts of western Minnesota face the possibility of rolling blackouts this week because of a winter storm that hit Texas and other parts of the southwestern U.S.
Dan Gunderson | MPR News file

Updated: 5:36 p.m.

Parts of western Minnesota face the possibility of rolling blackouts this week because of a winter storm that hit Texas and other parts of the southwestern U.S.

Moorhead Public Service says blackouts are possible in the area Tuesday evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Wednesday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Travis Schmidt, general manager for Moorhead Public Service, said electricity was cut to one area of Moorhead, Minn., for a half hour Tuesday morning after demand exceeded available electricity. The electric grid quickly stabilized and the rolling blackouts were called off.

Approximately 9,800 customers were impacted by the rolling power outages.

Moorhead Public Service has also apologizes to customers to for the short notice or no notice before the first outages occurred.

But Schmidt said the electric grid will likely remain unstable for a couple of days.

"I would suspect that the threat will be here until temperatures, get above 32 degrees, probably down in that southern tip of Texas all the way up to Kansas, Nebraska area," Schmidt said.

Moorhead Public Service issued a statement Tuesday evening, asking its customers “to reduce power usage, such as voluntarily reduce electric usage by delaying running the dishwasher and clothes washer, turning down the heat and shutting off lights.”

Moorhead is one of only a few areas in western Minnesota served by the Southwest Power Pool, which distributes electricity to 14 states from North Dakota to Texas.

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