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'Lockout' caused widespread power outage

Supper was not quite on the table for some area residents Nov. 24 when the power failed for 1,784 Todd-Wadena Electric customers.

Todd-Wadena buys electrical power from Minnesota Power and when a piece of equipment at a sub-station in Verndale failed, the resulting outage left customers in Wadena, Verndale and Aldrich in the dark.

According to a report which Todd-Wadena line superintendent Mark Christianson received from Minnesota Power, a transformer and bus locked out for safety reasons. A lockout prevents further trouble but it also forces crews to respond. Flickering power outages, according to Christianson, are caused when the equipment is attempting to self-correct a problem -- such as when a branch drops on a power line.

It took Minnesota Power crews 1 hour and 45 minutes to restore power.

The power was out from 5:49-7:33 p.m.

An additional 1,083 customers lost power for seven minutes.

Todd-Wadena Electric serves more than 8,000 customers.