February 1 Outage Updates
High sustained winds are causing trees to fall into power lines and other damage to electrical equipment. We are experiencing widespread outages across our service area. Winds are expected to get worse throughout the day, and we anticipate additional outages. For the latest updates, please check back on this page.
Our dispatch center is staffed 24/7, but calls are all being routed into our automated system so our dispatchers can respond to 911 situations and dispatch crews to get power restored. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. If you need to report a situation to our dispatchers, leave a message and they will check it as soon as they can.
Never touch, go near, or drive over a downed power line (or anything/anyone in contact with a downed power line). Always assume the power line is live.
9:30 A.M. UPDATE
Crews worked all through the night and made great progress. Power has been restored to over 90% of those who lost it during yesterday’s wind storm. We are so grateful to our crews who are working tirelessly to get the last 10% of our members restored and to our members who have showed us an outpouring of gratitude, concern for the safety of our line workers, and patience over the past 24 hours, (even in the light of frustrating inconveniences caused by power outages). We are so fortunate to serve such wonderful members!
It’s no small task when we experience outages spread across our entire service area. FEC has just shy of 5,000 miles of line, over 53,000 members (68,000 meters), and a service territory spanning almost 1,200 square miles.
At this point, we expect to have most all power restored by this afternoon, hopefully early afternoon in most cases. There are still some unknowns, so please bear with us as we continue this restoration effort. We’ll do our best to keep you in the know. Here’s what we can tell you at this point:
Whitefish and West Glacier areas — there are a few spot outages in these areas. We have crews headed there now and we’re hoping they are nothing that will take too long to get back up. Until we have eyes on the problems, it’s difficult to predict.
Swan – Crews are working on replacing the last broken pole in the Swan area that was causing most of the outages there. We sent another crew back to restock their truck before they head down to the south end of the Swan to get eyes on the outages there. We will know more once they arrive on scene to determine the cause of the outage and extent of the damage.
West shore – Hwy 93 — This restoration effort took longer than expected with multiple broken poles to replace. Crews worked straight through the night and they are getting close to having those repairs made so we can try getting that area reenergized soon.
Lutheran Camp Road area — We just got a fresh crew in, and they are headed to this outage. Our hope is that it’s just some spans of wire down and no broken poles, but until they arrive, it will be difficult to predict. The good news is that they are on the way to start the repairs.
South of McGregor Lake — We have about 30 members out at McGregor Lake, and we have two crews there working on those repair efforts now.
Ferndale – We had several broken poles in this area. Crews are still there working on those repairs. Hoping to have it completed this afternoon.
Libby – We still have 3 crews working there who worked all through the night cleaning up major messes and making repairs. Most of the power in the area has been restored, and we just got word that they are very hopeful that they can have everything wrapped up this afternoon and get everyone’s power back on in the area. Again, this area was the hardest hit, but they have made excellent progress. Thank you for your continued patience!
5:50 PM UPDATE: WHAT TO EXPECT TONIGHT
We have made a lot of progress since dispatching the first crew at 3:30 a.m. this morning, and we will continue working until all power is restored. We hope to have the bulk of power restored by midnight, but there will be some smaller pockets that will likely remain out into tomorrow. We have broken poles and cross arms, and power lines down across our service area. We thank you for your continued patience. We have all hands on deck working to restore power, run food out to line workers, dispatch crews and keep our members updated. Please keep our crews in your thoughts and prayers as they work through the mess created by this wind storm. We’ll continue posting updates as they are available.
Here are the updates we have at this time for specific areas, barring anything unforeseen:
Essex – power has been restored in this area
West Glacier – power has been restored in this area with the exception of one small area. A crew will be headed there next.
Kalispell – 2 Mile Drive area should be back up shortly. There are several other spot outages in the main Kalispell areas. Barring any additional damage or situations we aren’t currently aware of in the area, we should be getting those cleaned up within the next 4 to 8 hours.
Ashely Lake – We don’t have a lot of information on this outage yet. Crews will be headed there after getting Kalispell cleaned up.
West of Kalispell – We have two of the three phases hot, and a lot to the main line should be on at this point. One of the phases is showing low amperage, and we have additional crews headed that direction to help replace some broken poles that are causing the remaining issues. We are hoping to have that area back on by midnight.
West Shore – A crew is currently working in the area replacing multiple broken poles. Barring anything else we aren’t aware of at this point or any additional damage, we should have this area back up by midnight.
East Shore – We just finished cutting a tree down on the main line and restored power to most of this area. Crews are now working on replacing a broken pole on Sylvan drive which we hope to have completed by 10 p.m.
Ferndale and Swan Areas – We’ve got a lot of small spot outages in this area. Lines are down in multiple places which makes progress slow and difficult. Restoration time will be hard to predict until we can get more crews in the area. We should have another crew available that can head that way to provide additional help in the next four hours.
Foothills Road — A crew is headed to that area. We don’t have additional updates at this point.
Libby – This area took the brunt of the storm and sustained the most damage. Crews have been working to restore power there since 3:30 a.m. Most of the larger issues have been fixed, but there is still a lot of wire on the ground and broken poles and cross arms to get to. We have sent additional crews from Kalispell to help in the Libby area and they continue to work through it piece by piece. Progress will be slow, coming on little by little, and we anticipate there will be some power outages in Libby that last into tomorrow.
1:50 p.m. UPDATE:
Power has been restored to thousands of members across our area (including all of West Glacier and Essex), however, nearly 7,000 members still remain without power. The National Weather Service predicts that winds will continue to increase throughout the afternoon with gusts of up to 60 mph, which will likely cause additional power outages.
Our dispatch center was featured on KPAX just yesterday. The interview was very timely, and we wanted to share it to give members some insight into what goes on in our dispatch center during outages.
We have situations like the one below all across our service area, from Libby to Essex. Crews are tackling them one by one as they continue to occur. We understand how difficult it is to be without power, but appreciate your continued patience. We will continue to work until all power has been restored.
11:15 a.m. UPDATE: We are making progress, but lines are coming down as fast as they are going back up at this point. Crews are also wrestling with high winds and dangerous situations, so progress is slow. At this point, every one of our available crews is working, and we called in an additional contract crew. It’s impossible to predict restoration times in a situation like this, but we’ll do our best to keep our members updated. Here’s what we can tell you right now:
We have multiple transmission lines down causing large pockets of outages in Whitefish and Glacier. Crews are working on the transmission line from Hungry Horse to West Glacier as well as the one impacting the Whitefish area. We are hoping to have some answers on both of those soon.
The Essex line was cleared, but unfortunately, losing that transmission line means we won’t be able to bring Essex back on until the transmission issue is fixed. Once we have the West Glacier transmission line back up, Essex will come on as well.
Unfortunately, we don’t have much to update right now on the area west of Kalispell or Bigfork. We have a lot of broken poles and lines down, which can take a significant amount of time to repair.
Winds are not letting up, and with this level of damage, we do anticipate that we could have some areas without power well into tonight, and possibly even longer. Until the winds subside, it’s going to be a constant battle. Thank you for your continued patience and concern for our crews.
9:00 a.m. UPDATE: The Libby area was hit hard with reports of multiple lines down. Our Libby crews are working to make repairs, and we have two Kalispell crews in route to help in Libby as well. One of the Haskill feeders is locked out with reports of trees on the line. We have a crew headed that way. As repairs are made, our crews will continue to work toward Kalispell. There is also a crew currently working in the Essex area. Line work is particularly dangerous during periods of high winds. We thank you for your patience as crews work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.