Utility companies prepare for potential ice storm

Power lines
Power lines(KTTC)
Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 3:25 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Utility companies across the region are monitoring its power lines as a potential ice storm rolls in.

During ice storms, ice and snow accumulate on power lines and tree branches. The ice can weight them down, in some cases even pull them down.

One of the main ways Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) prevents against downed power lines is preemptive tree trimming. Year-round, crews work to trim tree branches that hang above power lines so that they won’t come down on the lines during storms.

As the wintry weather approaches, RPU operations team members are communicating with linemen, keeping them on call for any downed power lines and outages.

“Engineers have made stronger lines, stronger poles. They have significant regulations as far as how far in the ground it has to go so it can withstand weight. It can withstand wind, but ice is just one of those things that just messes with overhead lines significantly,” RPU communications coordinator Tony Benson said.

Homeowners and property owners should contact RPU if there is a tree in need of trimming on their property.

If you do come across a downed power line, assume it’s live, keep your distance and report it to RPU. Stay up to date on outages and other updates on the RPU Connect app.