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At MontanaFair, first responders to hail storm honored

Yellowstone Valley Electric customers now all back online
Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-17 12:17:24-04

BILLINGS — Friday is Service To America Day at MontanaFair, honoring area first responders and veterans.

Although Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative linemen don’t normally fit within those categories, they certainly were ‘rescuers’ in the wake of Sunday’s hail storm.

CEO Brandon Wittman says his crews initially faced 3,700 customer outages in the Shepherd area Sunday night. Many of the crewmen were themselves impacted with hail damage and power outages.

Wittman says once the crews were down to 300 remaining outages, a traffic accident on the west end of Billings ran the number back up to 700.

While crews split to cover outages on opposite ends of the valley, Wittman says customers remained patient with the unusually demanding circumstances.

As of Friday, tree branches and storm debris are still being cleaned up. But all Yellowstone Valley Electric Cooperative customers are back online.