SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Streets were calm on Monday afternoon, but that can rapidly change with a forecast like the one this week has. With the possibility of strong wind and freezing rain, local power companies say it’s important to be prepared.
“Plan for multiple days; don’t think in terms of hours,” said Steve Kolbeck, principal manager for Xcel Energy in South Dakota.
“If there’s any extended power outages, what would your plan be if you’re going to be out of power for a few days?” said Carrie Vugteveen, vice president of public relations for Sioux Valley Energy. “Is there places that you can stay, community emergency shelters.”
“Have a backup charger for your phone, have everything charged,” Kolbeck said. “Flashlights, maybe some candles.”
Ice can mean big headaches for the power companies and their customers.
“Our biggest concern is going to be the ice,” Kolbeck said. “If we get quarter-inch to a half-inch of ice built up on powerlines, it’s going to cause some issues.”
“I think our number-one message is always stay away from downed power lines,” Vugteveen said. “If you see a downed power line, you should always assume that it’s energized. Stay away.”
If you turn to a generator, be careful where you put it.
“We want to make sure that people are operating them safely, and it’s not safe to have them indoors and that includes your garage,” Vugteveen said.
“Think about how you can plan ahead so that if you have to go 24 hours without power, how are you going to manage that,” Kolbeck said.