30-foot waves rolled across Lake Superior on Tuesday, October 24. Winds near the shoreline gusted to over 60 mph taking down trees and powerlines in over two dozen locations in Alger, Marquette and Schoolcraft counties.
The Upper Peninsula was hit with a weather bomb. A ‘weather bomb’ is an unofficial term for a rapidly intensifying storm that typically develops over the water when a warm and cold air mass clash. It’s characterized by a low-pressure system where the central barometric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. And the hurricane-force winds it produced were not good for Alger Delta’s electric system.
“The calls started to come in fast and furious on Tuesday morning about 5:30 a.m.,” said Tom Harrell, CEO.
“It was an all-hands-on-deck approach to fielding outage reports,” explained Harrell. By Tuesday evening, Members Services Representative Elizabeth Manninen had fielded 650 phone calls. Chief Financial Officer Amanda Seger had taken 250 calls herself. Staff was dedicated to supporting members on smarthub, too.
At the end of the day, a grand total of 3,500 Alger Delta members were left without power.
Alger Delta put in a call for mutual aid and received help on Wednesday from Great Lakes Energy, Wisconsin co-ops and on-site contractors who happened to be working on the system when the weather bomb exploded.
Working together, power was restored to most Alger Delta members by Friday afternoon.
This was the first outage event where facebook played a large role in communicating with members. Alger Delta staff, including Harrell himself, diligently provided updates and responded to member comments around the clock.
“People seemed to really appreciate it and it served as an effective tool for us,” said Harrell.
A big thank you to all the mutual aid crews who came out to help. This is yet another great example of co-ops working together.