Storm strengthens Minnesota Power-Brainerd lakes partnership

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Storm strengthens Minnesota Power-Brainerd lakes partnership

July 24, 2015

The catastrophic storm that blew through the Brainerd lakes area July 12 tested Crow Wing County and it tested Minnesota Power. I came to your beautiful area in the wake of the storm to size up the damage to our utility operations and impact on customers and communities. I came away with images of an extraordinary storm and an equally extraordinary response, resourceful and resilient people working together to solve challenges that only Mother Nature is powerful enough to create. What I saw filled me with gratitude for the perseverance residents displayed and the patience they showed as they waited for their Minnesota Power crews to hack through blocked roads, clear downed trees, rebuild the poles, reconnect the wires and restore electricity. We are in the security, comfort and quality of life business and when that's interrupted, we respond. I couldn't be more proud of the many Minnesota Power line workers and support teams who responded to this crisis.

The Brainerd lakes community and the many Minnesota Power crews, aided by Brainerd Public Utilities, Grand Rapids Public Utilities, Xcel Energy, Crow Wing Power, Superior Water, Light and Power, MJ Electric, key contractors and countless other partners, worked side by side to respond to the most serious power outage our company has faced in the last 25 years. Our partnership with people in Crow Wing County was strengthened, I think, and it made me recall some ideas I shared during a Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp. gathering last February. "How can you respond to a world that can change overnight?" I posed that question five months ago, and observed the answer in action last week.

 

Our company's partnership with the greater Brainerd community dates back to 1912. It's much more than a business relationship between a power company and a customer. It's a partnership. We've teamed up on economic development projects that have assisted companies like Pequot Tool and Manufacturing, Lexington Manufacturing, Prestige Plating, Avantech/Lakeland Mold and others. Building new businesses, of course, not only helps the homegrown economy but also builds electric load for the power provider. It supports job creation, economic diversification and an expanded tax base which ultimately builds communities. It's good for MP and we thank you for your business.

 

Minnesota Power's partnership with the Brainerd and Gull Lake/Nisswa area stretches far beyond the numerous power poles sheared off by a renegade windstorm or the many transformers destroyed in a matter of minutes. The equipment can be replaced in short order when we work together. It's the long-term interdependence that counts. We were with you through Potlatch, Missota, and the sad close of Wausau Paper - and we will be with you to fill up the Brainerd Industrial Center. Minnesota Power is part of yesterday with you, we're part of today with you and we're part of the future with you.

 

From all of us at Minnesota Power, thank you again for your patience and support last week as we endured together. Proving once again, we stand stronger when we stand together.

Alan Hodnik

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