Severe storm leads to power outages

Approximately 20,000 members of Flathead Electric Co-op (FEC) experienced a power outage sometime Saturday, August 10 into Sunday, August 11 as a severe storm swept through northwest Montana, causing lightning, hail, heavy rain and gusty winds. The storm caused trees to fall on power poles and lines, leading to outages across FEC’s service territory from Libby to the west, Whitefish to the north, and Swan Lake to the south. The hardest hit areas were Bigfork, Ferndale, Somers, Lakeside, Many Lakes, Kalispell and Creston due to damage at the Echo and Lion Mountain Substations. Bonneville Power Administration crews worked to repair transmission lines as FEC crews worked on distribution. There are a few spot outages remaining this (Monday, August 12) morning as crews work on clean up and further repairs to the system. FEC anticipates residual impacts from the storm as well. For example, trees weakened by the storm can fall later, and sometimes power must be shut off to safely repair equipment.

Flathead Electric is aware of most outages, but people should still call to report them at 751-4449. If the line is tied up due to the volume of calls, members will be transferred into FEC’s automated outage system where they can report outages or get updates. Members can also access current outage information and sign up to receive text alerts about outages at www.flatheadelectric.com/outage.

Flathead Electric would also like to remind people to never touch or drive over a downed power line, but if you see one, report it to the Co-op right away or contact a law enforcement agency. Also, please make sure the addresses on your homes and businesses are clearly visible to linemen and emergency responders.