The timing of Monday’s power outage in Gillette was tricky as it hit during the evening commute home for many as it was reported just before 6 p.m. It affected most businesses and some traffic signals during the peak time along Douglas Highway between Lakeway and Boxelders roads.
Gillette Communications Manager Jennifer Toscana said Wednesday afternoon the power outage lasted approximately 39 minutes and affected the entire south side of Gillette.
“We had 9,139 customers without power for approximately 39 minutes. This was about 60 percent of our customers,” Toscana confirmed with the City of Gillette Electrical Division on Wednesday.
The outage was caused by galloping of the Wyodak 69kV transmission lines due to ice and wind.
Galloping transmission or power lines can occur when freezing rain creates icicles and ice on transmission towers and conductors. High winds push on the icicles and conductors and lift them up, creating a galloping, or jumping, motion.
Several businesses and residents told County 17 that their power “flickered” several times before ultimately going down completely.
Electrical crews spent Monday night checking lines throughout town. They urge residents to always stay clear of utility poles and lines if they believe galloping is occurring.