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NorthWestern Energy sees high volume of calls during winter storms

Posted: 12:58 PM, Feb 09, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-09 14:58:25-05
NorthWestern Energy

BUTTE — When rough weather conditions strike and people lose power, it’s out of an inconspicuous building in Butte where NorthWestern Energy’s dispatch team sends out the crews to get the power back on.

Dispatchers take calls from all across Montana, including South Dakota and Nebraska.

“It can go from relatively quiet dealing with normal customer inquiries to immediately thousands of customers are calling in on an outage,” said Operations Manager Carson Sweeney.

The dispatchers have had busy times during recent storms, but new technology allows the control room to track each outage and when crews arrive to repair them. Customers can also follow the progress online.

“And get information on the number of customers that are out, estimated repair time, and they can sign up for updates as the status outage is updated the customers will get a text or email,” said Sweeney.

NorthWestern’s crews were really busy over the Super Bowl weekend when more than 1,000 calls came in to the Butte dispatch center reporting power outages.

“Most of them missed the Super Bowl, but they got some rest and they’re always on standby, always ready to respond to incidents as needed, when we call them out they understand that’s part of the job,” Sweeney said.