Bipole II tower down for 2 days after being hit by farmer in tractor – Manitoba

Manitoba Hydro’s Bipole II line was knocked out of service this week after a farmer drove into one of its towers with a tractor, a Hydro spokesperson confirmed Friday.

The incident took place Wednesday afternoon just south of Lundar, Man., about 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg, said Hydro’s Bruce Owen. Owen said the farmer accidentally backed into the tower while collecting hay bales and knocked it off its base.

There were no outages reported in the area after the tower fell, Owen said.

“When something like this happens the grid is set up in such a way where were able to — with a loss of power, we’re able to import power from our neighbours to the south and to the west,” he said.

In addition to purchasing emergency power from the U.S. and Saskatchewan, Owen said the utility made use of thermal plants in Brandon and Selkirk.

Owen couldn’t provide an estimate of how much the imported power will cost the utility.

“Our priority, of course, was getting to the scene and getting Bipole II back into service as quickly as possible,” he said.

The downed tower was back up by Friday afternoon. (Manitoba Hydro)

‘Unusual’ incident

Owen said the timing of the incident was lucky, because of warm weather and a lower-than-usual load for this time of year.

He said the incident was “quite unusual.”

The last time a comparable event happened was in 2008, when a forest fire near Grand Rapids, Man., put the line out of service for about an hour, he said.

Prior to that, the most recent line outage was 1996, when a windstorm knocked down 19 towers on Bipoles I and II for multiple days.

“Both these towers, Bipole I and II, have been up since the mid-1970s. The farmer was obviously aware, because he’s lived in the area for a long time, and just made an honest mistake — pure accident,” Owen added.

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