For many years we've provided apprentice training for lineworkers early in their careers to advance their knowledge and prepare them for required next steps in their certifications. And for many years, this training was largely classroom-based learning. But we've been working on enhancements that provide more hands-on experiences.
Thursday evening’s severe weather has resulted in prolonged outages for more than 24,000 of our customers primarily in Minnesota and South Dakota. With significant damage to equipment, including more than 250 broken poles, we anticipate that it may take most of the day before crews are able to complete repairs. Some customers could be without power for three to four days.
Despite the cool and wet weather, it’s been a busy spring for our company. This week we marked a historic milestone, beginning construction at our first large-scale solar project, the 49-megawatt Hoot Lake Solar. We also continue deconstruction of buildings at Hoot Lake Plant, which we retired in May 2021.
Thanks to the recent installation of a radar-activated aircraft detection lighting system (ADLS) at our newly operational 150-megawatt Merricourt Wind Energy Center, North Dakota skies are a little darker—without compromising safety.
We retired Hoot Lake Plant on May 27 this year, marking the end of 100 years of coal-fired energy generation at the site. On July 21, 2021, we commemorated the plant’s legacy of safe, reliable generation—and its dependable, innovative employees.
On May 27, 2021, we retired Hoot Lake Plant, marking the end of 100 years of coal-fired energy generation at the site.
Frost on power lines in North Dakota has resulted in outages for hundreds of Otter Tail Power Company’s customers. With ongoing ice and frost, and wind picking up, customers may continue to experience intermittent outages over the next few days.
Otter Tail Power Company continues doing all it can to assist customers facing financial hardships—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Otter Tail Power Company’s Astoria Station project is in full swing in Deuel County, South Dakota, where you’ll find approximately 250 people working on site. While the company and contractors are working to ensure everyone is following safety protocols and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic, thirteen people working on the Astoria Station project recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has issued a Stay-at-home Order effective March 27 at midnight through April 10 to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The company takes seriously its role as a critical service provider. “Rest assured your Otter Tail Power Company team remains hard at work,” said President Tim Rogelstad. “We value the privilege we have in providing you with safe, reliable electric service always—and certainly through difficult times like these.”
Otter Tail Power Company is aware of recent scam activity in parts of its service area. Scammers are taking advantage of potentially heightened anxiety around the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important for our customers to know that we’ll never pressure you to make immediate payments.
Otter Tail Power Company's new sustainability website, otpsustainability.com, is live. This interactive and mobile-friendly site is a one-stop shop for the whats, whens, and whys driving the company’s sustainability. It supplements its customer-focused website, otpco.com.
Since 2004 National Cyber Security Awareness Month has taken place every October to ensure Internet users have the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. Otter Tail Power Company takes cyber security seriously—for the safety of its employees, customers, shareholders, and the energy grid.
Harvest is one of the busiest times of the year. Otter Tail Power Company reminds farmers to stay safe by paying as much attention to what’s above their heads and within reach of their machinery as they do to their harvesting and tillage work, says Greg Overland, the company’s Safety Services Manager.
Nice weather frequently brings outdoor construction, yard work, and planting projects. During National Electrical Safety Month, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors that, before digging, they need to notify utilities that have lines or cables buried in the area.
Otter Tail Power Company is aware of recent scam activity throughout its service area. “Scammers are targeting both our residential customers and business customers,” said Collin Kremeier, Customer Care Supervisor. “And they’re increasingly convincing, requiring urgent payments to avoid disconnection. We’ll never pressure you to make immediate payments, especially through services like MoneyPak, MoneyGram, or pre-paid credit cards.”
High water levels and flooded areas could increase the potential for accidental contact with electricity. Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland advises residents and visitors to the area to stay away from water that may be in contact with any electrical component, such as a pad-mount transformer or a downed power line.
Most snowmobilers do some riding in road ditches. A lot of right-of-way for electrical facilities borders road ditches, and Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland urges special emphasis on safety. “Watch for electrical equipment such as substations, poles, guy wires, junction boxes, and pad-mounted transformers that often are located near road ditches.”
Many people use portable heaters to add warmth to select areas in their homes rather than increase thermostat settings. To help ensure efficiency and safety, Otter Tail Power Company offers tips for buying and using portable electric space heaters.
Severe weather in the region has resulted in widespread outages for approximately 6,000 of Otter Tail Power Company’s customers in North Dakota and Minnesota.
During National Electrical Safety Month, Otter Tail Power Company reminds customers and neighbors to call 811 before digging to prevent unintentionally hitting underground utility lines.
As spring approaches, construction, yard work, and spring cleaning soon will be in full swing. Otter Tail Power Company’s Safety Services Manager Greg Overland encourages customers and neighbors to follow these tips from the National Safety Council to avoid slips, trips, and falls as we become more active with warmer weather.
Otter Tail Power Company is mindful of the hardship posed for the many people without electricity and is sending crews to assist with power restoration efforts. At 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning 22 of our linemen, service representatives, and mechanics left in a convoy for Tampa, Florida, taking three digger derricks, 11 bucket trucks, a mechanic repair truck, and one pickup. The team travelled throughout the day and remained in close contact with local crews and mutual aid personnel. By the end of the day lead utilities on the scene asked us to stand down, which is common in these situations.
The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) presented Otter Tail Power Company with the association’s Emergency Recovery Award for its outstanding restoration efforts after a snow and ice storm hit South Dakota on Christmas Day.
Unpredictable summer storms can cause electrical outages. To help our customers and neighbors prepare for severe summer weather, Otter Tail Power Company has storm readiness information on our website at otpco.com. The information includes tips for developing a family disaster plan, suggestions for assembling a storm kit, and procedures to follow during a storm. We also suggest that customers follow us on Twitter for updates during significant outages.
The three-year $384 million project helps plant owners balance their commitments to environmental stewardship with cost-effective service for their customers by enabling them to responsibly generate base-load electricity from coal at Big Stone Plant. The new system reduces nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide emissions by approximately 90 percent and mercury emissions by approximately 80 percent.