Yet another round of thunderstorms hit thousands of home still without power Sunday morning, leaving many with more storm damage and others fighting flash flooding.
The largest utility serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin says it deployed more than 1,000 line workers to restore power to customers in the Twin Cities and other areas after three waves of strong storms hit the region. Xcel Energy’s system was severely damaged by high winds that brought trees and branches down onto power lines before dawn Friday and on Friday evening and early Saturday. More than 500,000 of the utility’s customers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin were affected at the height of the power outages
Hundreds of thousands of residents in the Twin Cities and other parts of the region lost power after three waves of strong storms packing high winds raked the area.
The National Weather Service says several communities in west-central Minnesota are experiencing flash flooding following severe thunderstorms. Meteorologist Chris Franks says streets in Morris, Glenwood and Starbuck are among those that flooded after big downpours.
Otter Tail Power Company and Xcel Energy have filed a permit application with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission for a high-voltage transmission line from Big Stone City to near Brookings.
More than 9,000 customers in suburbs northwest of Minneapolis lost power for a few hours Wednesday evening, according to Xcel Energy. The 9,100 customers affected were in Osseo, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Coon Rapids and Maple Grove. The power went out around 5:30 p.m. and came back around 9:45 p.m.
A new Minnesota law requiring investor-owned utilities to get more of their electricity from solar power by the year 2020 means farms like the one Doug and Jane Popp own near Royalton are likely to become a more common sight. The Popps’ grain bin is powered by a 10-kilowatt solar array, helping to reduce their electric bill.
Minnesota’s investor-owned utilities will be required to get 1.5 percent of their power from solar energy by 2020 under legislation signed by Gov. Mark Dayton. The solar energy standard also sets a statewide goal of reaching 10 percent by 2030.
The group that pushed Minnesota lawmakers to legalize gay marriage disclosed Wednesday it invested more than $2 million in the successful lobbying effort.
Xcel Energy is proposing two natural gas-fired power plants in southeastern North Dakota to help meet electricity needs during times of peak demand in the upper Midwest in coming years. The plants would be built near Hankinson, about 70 miles south of Fargo, if they are approved by regulators.
Crews are working to repair electrical lines brought down by the heavy, wet snow that fell across parts of northern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.
Several blocks of downtown Minneapolis have power back after a brief interruption following an electrical fire at one building. Friday morning’s outage happened in the wake of a fire in an electrical vault at the US West building near midnight.
Xcel Energy has reduced its proposed Minnesota electric rate increase. The Minneapolis-based utility said Monday it lowered its proposed rate increase to 8.2 percent. Xcel proposed a rate hike of 10.7 percent in November.
Authorities say light rail service in downtown Minneapolis resumed just before 1 p.m. Thursday after being disrupted because of a downed power line.
The state is stepping in to help Xcel Energy customers who aren’t happy about a recent rate hike. Right now many homeowners are paying 11-percent more on their electric bills, or about $8 extra a month.