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Published February 12, 2011, 09:28 PM

Power Restored to 10,000 Fargo Xcel Customers; Crews Still Working to Restore Power to Some

About 10,000 Xcel Energy customers have power again after a widespread outage early this afternoon gripped parts of Fargo and West Fargo. UPDATED: Power restored to 10,000 Xcel customers; crews still working to return power to rest

By: Kristin Daum, Inforum

FARGO – About 10,000 Xcel Energy customers have power again after a widespread outage early this afternoon gripped parts of Fargo and West Fargo.

As of 7:50 p.m., crews were still working to get power back for about 5,660 customers still affected by the outage.

"We really appreciate customers' patience as we work through this difficult situation," said Mark Nisbet, Xcel's principal manager for North Dakota. "Our crews will continue to work safely as we restore power as quickly as possible to as many as we can, but the possibility remains that outages for some customers may last for an extended time period."

The outage began at 1:40 p.m.

A 115-kilovolt transmission line tripped offline, causing equipment to fail and sparking a fire at the substation at Main Avenue and 42nd Street in Fargo.

The incident cutt off power to the substation and all of the Xcel customers it serves.

At its peak, the outage left more than 16,000 customers without power for at least four hours.

The incident affected West Fargo, south Fargo and portions of the industrial park in north Fargo.

The outage has darkened homes and businesses, as well as traffic lights, making for potential hazards after sunset.

As nighttime set in and homes grew colder, many people took refuge at West Acres Shopping Center, which still had power.

The customer service desk there reported taking more than 50 calls from people wondering if the mall had power.

Meanwhile, West Fargo Public Schools was forced to change some of its activities Saturday since the high school was also hit by the outage.

Xcel is offering updates as available through www.xcelenergy.com/outages and its Facebook page, "Xcel Energy North Dakota."

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