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Drilling Problems Extended Weekend Power Outage In The Flathead

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About 13,000 people on the Flathead Reservation were without electricity for several hours longer than expected during a planned power outage this weekend.

The Bonneville Power Administration installed about 10 new power poles and upgraded transmission lines at the Salish Kootenai Dam substation site. The work started late Saturday night.

Mission Valley Power customers were told electricity would be restored by 7:00 Sunday morning. General manager Jean Matt says power ended up being restored at about 10:00 a.m.

"When they tried to put those poles in they were drilling into rock. The depth of the poles was about 12-1/2 feet. It was quite a challenge to dig into some of those areas," Matt says.

Matt predicts the work successfully performed this weekend means a similar lengthy planned power outage won't be necessary for about 30 years.

Still, Mission Valley Power is now working with local media to more effectively distribute news of power problems to the public.

The company also plans to launch a Facebook page by early next week.

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