Thursday, October 06, 2005

Montana's Katrina?

I just turned three score and ten, most of them spent living and surviving in the Billings area. I don't think I can remember many springs and falls when we didn't have the same type of storm we just went dark and cold through. When I talked to the Northwest Energy people in Butte, all they could tell me was that trees had fallen on the lines, which I knew because, as I said, I've seen this happen every spring and fall (almost) since I've lived in the Billings area. It also happened in 1874 when the wagon train from Bozeman was out this way, according Don Weibert.

So, given that we have a history of this kind of event here and that in previous events I've never spent more than 12 hours in the dark, how come Northwestern Energy's highly paid managers couldn't plan for this and be ahead of the game. In the old days, crews used to trim trees that posed a danger to power lines. That eliminated a lot of the downed lines. I haven't seen them out recently although we have trimmed some of the trees along our alleys to prevent it. I know the NWE crews put out their best efforts, but I'm wondering if the managers planned for this. It was not a one of a kind storm like Katrina. We have them often enough to know what the problems are. We've had worse storms that didn't do the damage that this one did.


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