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Power outage linked to faulty equipment

A power outage that left southwestern Mitchell in the dark for nearly three hours Monday night was caused by faulty equipment at a local substation, a NorthWestern Energy spokesman said Tuesday.

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The power went out at approximately 5 p.m. and affected a total of about 1,300 commercial and residential customers, according to Tom Glanzer, a spokesman for NorthWestern. By 6 p.m., technicians had traced the problem to a local substation and began working to replace the malfunctioning equipment. Power was restored to the area by about 7:45 p.m.

For safety reasons, the power was kept off while the repairs were performed, which may have extended the length of the power outage, Glanzer said.

“When you’re working in the dark, you take extra, precautionary steps,” he said.

Businesses in the area were affected by the outage, including County Fair Food Store, located at 1305 W. Havens St. According to store manager Justin Luther, County Fair was forced to close during the power outage, which happened to occur during what is typically the grocery store’s busiest time of day.

“It did a number on us, as far as sales,” Luther said, referring to the outage.

County Fair’s cash registers have backup battery power that lasted for a time and allowed some customers to check out before leaving the store, Luther said.

No frozen products spoiled during the outage, Luther said, because most are behind sealed doors, and those that weren’t were quickly covered to keep them from thawing.

“It wasn’t any fun,” he said, “but it happens.”