A bird’s eye view of destruction in FEM Electric’s territory

Mark and Sherry Perrion got some amazing pictures when they decided to take a Friday flight on January 29.

As Mark was flying, Sherry was taking photos. The couple are FEM Electric consumers.

The Antelope Valley Station-to-Broadland line on Friday, January 29.

When they got near the towers, Sherry told Mark to tip the wing so she could get a couple good shots.

The photos show Basin Electric Transmission System Maintenance crews working near Bowdle, South Dakota, on the 345-kilovolt Antelope Valley Station-to-Broadland line that was damaged in the late January ice storm.

The Antelope Valley Station-to-Broadland line on Friday, January 29.

Stephanie Reis, operations/member service assistant for FEM Electric, says they’re hoping to have the power back for all residential meters by Friday, February 5.

Reis says at the height of the outages, there were 1,710 consumers without power and 3,000 power poles down.

317 people from 28 different groups were helping the FEM Electric crews so they could repair lines. Members of the South Dakota National Guard, other co-op crews, construction crews, and Sioux Falls and Brookings city crews helped move snow, pull vehicles that were stuck in the snow, and build crossarms for transmission towers.

Some of the crews came from Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri. “The crews from down south had never worked in an ice storm before,” Reis says. “But you know, they stuck it out. It was a challenge for them, and they wanted to meet it.”

The Antelope Valley Station-to-Broadland line on Friday, January 29.

Reis says their member-consumers helped keep the crews fueled up. They baked cookies and bars, brought breakfast, fruit and soda to FEM Electric’s office. “We basically had a convenience store set up here,” Reis says with a chuckle.

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