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South Dakota companies not sending linemen to help with Hurricane Ida power outages

When disasters like this happen, electric companies across the nation can cash in on mutual aid agreements, bringing in reinforcements from other states. And although South Dakota has provided help in the past, it doesn’t look like our linemen will be needed this time around.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 3:53 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - As residents in the southern United States continue to assess the massive damage from Hurricane Ida, more than a million customers are left without power.

In Southern Louisiana and Mississippi, millions of people are without power and a heatwave is moving in, with the temperature expected to reach 100 degrees or more, posing a health risk to many residents.

And officials down south say electricity may not be restored to some areas for a month.

When disasters like this happen, electric companies across the nation can cash in on mutual aid agreements, bringing in reinforcements from other states.

And although South Dakota has provided help in the past, it doesn’t look like our linemen will be needed this time around.

”The need is not as great,” said Billy Gibson, director of communications for the South Dakota Rural Electric Association. “If you remember in 2005, everything that happened with Hurricane Katrina, the levees breached around New Orleans so it made it even worse than Hurricane Ida has turned out to be so right now, we’ve determined that they’re going to be able to handle it with the resources that they have coming in form different parts of the state. We just here in South Dakota, we don’t have any plans right now to send folks down there to help.”

Black Hills Energy also shared a statement saying, as of Tuesday, they are not sending anyone to help with the hurricane-caused outages.

And although Gibson resides in Pierre, Baton Rouge was his long-time home, and says it’s interesting being here while so much devastation happens there.

”The thing I’ve learned during my year and a half in Pierre is just how little events like that resonate,” continued Gibson. “It’s a sunny day here in Pierre and the weather’s nice and folks aren’t scrambling for their lives and their livelihoods and trying to take care of their families so it doesn’t really resonate.”

Gibson was able to make contact with family in Louisiana Monday night, a comforting connection as much is still uncertain for residents hit by the storm.

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