Basin Electric crews work in extremes to keep electricity reliable

In North Dakota, this week offered its first hint of the cool weather on its way soon.

For the Basin Electric employees who spend a good part of their work week outdoors, though, a swing to the opposite side of zero degrees will come all too soon.

Paul Kaiser, Basin Electric assistant line superintendent, sent these photos from last winter, which were taken by Wayne Bentz, lineman/journeyman in the Mandan, ND, Transmission System Maintenance shop, on Feb. 24, 2014.

Transmission work

The scene in the daylight.

Transmission work

The scene later on that night.

Crews started work on this tower south of Lehr, ND, at 7 a.m., and kept working until 8 p.m. that night.

“They had to work to a certain point in the project before leaving for the night,” Kaiser says. “The partial tower to the left of the main complete tower had to be replaced due to major earth shifting, which was buckling one of the major legs of the tower.”

Kaiser says the temperature was -4 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of -24 degrees. The day saw wind gusts of 20 to 30 miles per hour. Eventually that day, the temperature climbed to 5 degrees. Both the new structure and old structure needed to be erected and disassembled in the air, with guys hanging and climbing on frigidly cold steel.

“It’s times like these that people don’t see what these guys go through to keep Basin’s power grid reliable and operational,” Kaiser says. “This project was done safely under what I would call severe weather conditions. They are definitely professionals in their field.”


  1. Well done guys! Your hard work in these sort of conditions is always very much appreciated from this end! Thanks for sharing Wayne’s pictures with us.

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