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Frog involved in power outage

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LAKE COUNTY – Although an amphibian was most likely the culprit, the Wednesday afternoon power outage is still under investigation.

Mission Valley Power General Manager Jean Matt said that an animal had crossed the breaker on the North Western Energy substation, located near the Séliš KsankaQÍispé dam. “A frog crossed the breaker, causing the safety devices to trip,” he said. 

The outage impacted the service area from Polson to Ronan, along with Hot Springs and West Shore. People lost power at around 1:45 p.m. 

Personnel went to work to find the source of the outage, and early assessments didn’t find any MVP equipment failures. The problem originated with the substation. Northwest Energy technicians were quickly en route to work on the issue as soon as it occured.  

Many substations are located across the service area and are owned by different companies, including MVP, Northwest Energy and Bonneville Power. The owners of each substation are responsible for fixing problems that might occur and MVP works with them.

Once the animal was removed, the crews started to restore power. Matt said it was a cold day last week when the power went out so more electricity was being used, which meant that it took time to restore all the lines. “We have to heat up slowly,” he said.

Within about two hours, the power was back on. 

During the outage, street lights were off in towns impacted by the outage, including Polson.  

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