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Flathead Electric Cooperative working to restore power to remote areas

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 19:00:58-05

KALISPELL — Thousands of residents were left without power in Northwest Montana after Wednesday’s major windstorm toppled trees taking down power lines.

Flathead Electric Cooperative (FEC) spokeswoman Wendy Ostrom Price said it’s been an all hands-on approach for FEC to turn the lights back on.

“We have everyone from our general manager to our assistant general manager, communications personnel on the job, dispatchers of course, and our member service representatives as well,” said Ostrom Price

At the height of the storm on Wednesday, Ostrom Price said more than 16,000 Flathead Electric customers were without power.

As of Thursday morning, Ostrom Price said power has been restored to more than 8,000 residents.

She said the damage from the storm was widespread, with West Glacier, Hungry Horse, Lakeside, and Libby all being hit hard.

“It wasn’t focused in one area, it was widespread across our entire service territory, so that’s a lot of ground for our crews to cover,” said Ostrom Price.

With crews spread thin, Ostrom Price expects some customers in remote areas will remain without power through Thursday night.

She said mutual aid from surrounding counties is coming in to assist Flathead Electric Cooperative crews.

“We were able to get some mutual aid which is just remarkable considering coops across the northwest have been hit with this windstorm, so that helps as well, maybe our crews who have been out for 24 hours plus can maybe get a little rest and refresh but we will be at it for as long as it takes,” said Ostrom Price.

FEC reminds residents not to touch downed power lines and to call the Flathead Electric Cooperative immediately if you have a downed line in your neighborhood.