Update 6:25 p.m. Dec. 29, 2021:
According to FEC outage viewer, power has been restored to the Whitefish area.
Update 5:00 p.m. Dec. 29, 2021:
FEC says the cause of the initial outage was that they saw an increased load, likely due to the extreme cold weather conditions, which required FEC to do some load switching in the Whitefish area.
FEC reports load switching is a fairly routine process which members aren’t typically aware of because it doesn’t impact their service. However, while trying to transfer load from one substation to another, the switching equipment failed, causing the initial outage in the Whitefish area.
FEC reports they were able to restore power to most of the area by pushing all the load to clear the broken switch. Now they are experiencing cold load issues. This causes fuses to fail on smaller parts of the line. Everything is picked up except one major feeder serving the West Whitefish area, which will come back on in pieces.
FEC expect all power to be restored within the hour.
About 6,000 customers in the Whitefish area are without power Wednesday afternoon.
Flathead Electric Cooperative tells MTN News crews are working on restoring power after a failed switch.
Spokesperson Katie Pfennigs says crews are on the scene and expect power to be restored shortly.
For the most up-to-date information about this outage, or to sign up for text alerts as soon as additional information becomes available, please visit Flathead Electric Cooperative outage map.