Brandon Lunde, Safety Manager
How is Dakota Electric protecting its employees and the community?
We have implemented preventative measures to keep our employees and members as safe as possible. This includes enhanced sanitation and cleaning, closing our lobby, practicing social distancing, outside crews working staggered shifts, nearly all inside personnel working remotely, conducting only virtual meetings and eliminating non-emergency appointments requiring employees to enter a member’s home or business.
If lineworkers fall ill, self-isolate or stay at home to care for sick family members, how is Dakota Electric going to address reduced staffing levels, primarily in critical positions?
Dakota Electric has implemented measures to protect essential staff and mitigate any potential disruptions caused by illness, such as sheltering-in-place, and increasing hygiene measures. We have separated our line crews into shifts and are taking measures to ensure there is no physical contact between the shifts. Our core business functions are strong. Even if we experience minimum staffing, your lights will stay on.
If a storm blows through and causes a significant power outage, how will Dakota Electric respond? How has this situation changed your mutual assistance plans?
Dakota Electric is part of a sophisticated mutual assistance program that enables us to share resources with other electric cooperatives during emergency situations. If we were to experience a significant power outage and are in need of help, we would receive mutual aid. Additionally, we would provide mutual aid for neighboring co-ops. In fact, at the end of March, we provided mutual aid to a neighboring electric cooperative, East Central Energy.
What steps are you taking to make sure that key infrastructure such as hospitals and first responders don’t go dark during this outbreak?
Ensuring continued power reliability is important to Dakota Electric, especially for critical facilities and services and members with specific medical needs. We are working hand-in-hand with other electric cooperatives, local industry and government leaders to ensure energy operations and infrastructure continue to be supported without disruption.
We are closely following guidelines set by the CDC, Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health.