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Residents in Hibbing want answers after thousands affected by overnight power outage

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HIBBING, MN -- Thousands of residents on the Iron Range were left in the dark Thursday into Friday, on the coldest night of the year.

A widespread power outage, as temperatures in Hibbing dropped into the 20's below zero.

This isn't the first time this has happened this winter. Now, many residents are upset, and speaking out.

The power outage affected over 5,000 people between 11 p.m. Thursday at 2 a.m. Friday, in well below zero temperatures.

Resident Bonnie Duncan says the temperature in her home dropped 7 degrees in an hour.

"Our 4 year old woke up around midnight, and was crying because he was cold. So we got more blankets, and his jacket on, and snuggled up on the couch all together. Body heat. It's all we could do," Duncan said.

Director of Utility Operations, Corey Lubovich, says they have learned that the cause was a faulty feeder cable, which they're investigating.

"Our plans are to replace it. it is isolated and out of the system at this moment, but because we were in real time, so shortly after it happened, we couldnt take it offline, determine what the problem was. We are currently doing that now," Lubovich said.

Lubovich says while this is Hibbing's 3rd widespread outage in 2 months,
the outages aren't related.

"They are handled pretty much the same way. but the failure cause, the root cause, they're all different," Lubovich said.

Residents tell us they've had few answers from the Hibbing Public Utilities Commission about why this is an ongoing issue.

"It would be nice if they had more notifications on why things are happening, so that residents aren't left in the dark as much as they are," Duncan said.

Lubovich says they are working on several different plans to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

"We have asset management programs that we are formulating and putting in place as we speak that should greatly mitigate these outages, not only in the near future, but in the long term future as well," Lubovich said.

The people who keep losing their power say they are feeling a little less optimistic.

"We're paying so much for utilities, it's nice to actually have them. It happens way more than it should," Duncan said.

The Mayor of Hibbing, Rick Cannata, provided a statement after the power outage.

"The city of Hibbing and Hibbing Public Utilities are working together to try and fix this problem to make everything run better. It's going to take some time, but we want to work out all these problems."

Mayor Rick Cannata

Jenna Wells

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