Power knocked out in RM of Lake Alma, surrounding areas, due to damaged poles

The rural municipality of Lake Alma and some of its surrounding communities were without power, after weather in the area caused multiple power poles to break, SaskPower said.

The power had been off since about 10:30 Saturday morning. The utility said crews have been dispatched to the area to get power restored to the RM, which is roughly 150 kilometres south of Regina and home to about 250 people.

Power was restored around 7:30 p.m. according to SaskPower's Twitter account. 

SaskPower estimated a total of roughly 800 people in the RM and the area around it were without power.

Del Thue, a councillor with the RM, said the area had seen freezing drizzle and ice fog for the last 36 hours or so, which is causing everything to freeze up.

"Either drizzle or ice fog, and there's half- to three-quarters of an inch of ice, basically, on everything right now," he said.

Environment Canada had a freezing drizzle advisory in place for the area on Saturday morning, but it was lifted at around 12:40 p.m.

Thue said people in the municipality were faring well despite the icy conditions, adding workers from Saskatchewan's highways department have been out in full force.

"They've been salting [heavily]. Roads are a lot better than expected.… It hasn't really been that big of an issue, aside from the power being out."

Thue said he didn't know too much about what caused the power poles to break or where the breaks happened, but said RM officials are not too concerned about people being without power as temperatures in the area have been hovering around –5 C.

"We're pretty fortunate it's not very cold," he said.

"If it does get colder or whatever, then it's a little bit of trouble for the ag producers trying to keep watering bowls from freezing and that sort of thing, but most people have a pretty good backup system."

Submitted by SaskPower

Spokesman Joel Cherry said several poles in the area were affected by the weather and it appears the lines were damaged by wind and the freezing precipitation. 

"When you have freezing rain mixed with some wind, you get what's called galloping, which is where there's ice on one side of the line, the wind flows over the line and causes it to buck up and down," Cherry said.

"When you have heavy galloping, that can lead to damage to the structures and lead to outages." 

He said in some cases, the lines galloped so hard, they disconnected. 

In December of 2018 SaskPower saw thousands of people across Saskatchewan without power after frost covered some of its lines, causing them to sag and even break.

Submitted by Del Thue

Cherry said if you discover a downed power line, you should assume it's live.

"Downed power lines are extremely dangerous," he said, noting people should stay at least 10 metres from the line.

"If you see a line down, either call SaskPower or 911 and we'll get there to de-energize the line and make repairs as soon as possible."