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Power back on in city of Worthington, rolling blackouts finished

WORTHINGTON -- Residents in the city of Worthington made it through their first day without rolling blackouts on Friday, as an outside source of electrical power was secured and delivering a new origin of power to the community.

Worthington Public Utilities Manager Scott Hain said the limited power source began operating at approximately 1 a.m. Friday.

"That, along with continuing to operate our diesel generation, should allow us to discontinue these rolling blackouts," Hain said.

The new source is a 69kv feed coming into the Elk substation north of Worthington. Its power is being delivered on the sole WPU line still standing.

"Provided that we can maintain that outside source at the current capacity or better going forward, we don't anticipate that we'll have to revert to rolling blackouts," Hain said. "However, if we lose that source or get curtailed, it's possible we may have to go back to blackouts."

Crews continue to work on rebuilding Worthington's power supply by getting the 161kv feed into the Elk substation in operation.

"Crews are also working on reconstructing both of those other two feeds to Worthington, but as far as I know, neither one of those are operational yet and I don't have a good time frame as to when they might be," Hain said.

Linemen made "pretty good progress" through the day on Thursday and Friday.

"The power lines shed a lot of ice (Thursday)," Hain said. "It was 'beware of falling branches' -- now it's 'beware of falling ice."'

With the additional power supply for the city of Worthington, Hain said both JBS and Bedford Industries were able to start a limited production shift at 4 p.m. Friday.

"They're back at it a little bit -- not on a regular production schedule," he said. "We figured out how much power we had available, and each are running at roughly half of normal.

Most shops and restaurants were back to full operation on Friday with the steady source of power, and Hain said, "they're extremely happy."

The city continues to ask residents to practice energy conservation as much as possible.

"We're monitoring what the loads are doing, listening to the transmission folks and watching the load on our generation to see how much capacity is left," he said.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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