Shortly after power was restored to the area, a man waits inside the lobby for the doors to be unlocked at the downtown location of Wells Fargo during a huge power outage that hit most of Fargo on Monday over the noon hour. Dave Wallis / The Forum
FARGO - A widespread outage that left nearly 55,000 Fargo-area customers without power for about 30 minutes Monday was caused by a problem at the transmission level, an Xcel Energy official says.
Dave Sederquist, manager of regulatory affairs for Xcel, said the failure, which is being investigated, took down a pair of distribution centers until electricity was restored at 12:54 p.m.
Sederquist said more than 47,000 Xcel customers were without power for 33 minutes.
Cass County Electric Cooperative also reported that 7,100 customers lost power in south Fargo, mostly west of Interstate 29 and south of 13th Avenue South, said Carrie Carney, a Cass County Electric spokeswoman.
The outages were related, Carney said.
Power wasn't interrupted in Moorhead, according to a news release from Moorhead Public Service.
Sederquist said Monday afternoon that Xcel officials didn't yet know what went wrong.
The outage indirectly forced the evacuation of Country Kitchen at 3201 33rd St. S. in Fargo after the restaurant filled with smoke.
General Manager Lisa Valnes said the gas broilers in the restaurant were still running after the outage, but the fans were not, producing the smoke.
Valnes evacuated all customers from the restaurant after they started complaining about their eyes hurting, she said. Fans were able to clear the smoke when the power came back on.