The Edison Electric Institute today announced that Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power are recipients of EEI’s Emergency Response Award. Both electric utilities are operating divisions of ALLETE Inc. 

Presented to EEI member companies, Emergency Response Awards recognize recovery and assistance efforts of electric companies following service disruptions caused by extreme weather or other natural events. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges following an international nomination process, and the awards were presented during EEI’s virtual Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting.

In August 2020, a powerful derecho with wind gusts of more than 80 miles an hour swept across Illinois. Eighteen Minnesota Power lineworkers, two lineworkers from Superior Water, Light & Power, two supervisors and two fleet mechanics were among the mutual aid workers assisting Ameren in restoring power to customers in La Salle and Ottawa, Illinois.

“Over the past year, many of our nation’s electric companies and their customers have endured historic storms and wildfires and other significant weather-related events” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Working around the clock to restore power safely and quickly to customers and deploying mutual assistance crews to support impacted companies are hallmarks of the electric power industry. When disasters strike, impacted and neighboring electric companies are quick to assess damage and to respond and assist with restoration. I congratulate and applaud Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power for demonstrating this commitment even in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Power restoration during a pandemic required the companies to have additional safety protocols in place. For example, each crew member traveled to Illinois in a separate bucket truck or other vehicle to maintain social distancing.

Josh Skelton, Minnesota Power chief operating officer, said Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power are well-known in the electric energy industry as trusted and valued mutual aid partners.

“The pandemic obviously makes a mutual aid response more challenging, but with safety and health guidelines in place we’re prepared to meet the challenge,” Skelton said. “We’re honored to be recognized by our industry colleagues, and I am proud of our dedicated crews who unfailingly embrace the hard work and long hours necessary to restore safe and reliable power. We’re happy to have been able to help our friends at Ameren.”

Minnesota Power provides electric service within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, supporting comfort, security and quality of life for 145,000 customers, 15 municipalities and some of the largest industrial customers in the United States. More information can be found at www.mnpower.com.

Superior Water, Light & Power provides electricity, water and natural gas in the city of Superior and adjacent areas in northwestern Wisconsin. The company has served the area since 1889 and provides services to approximately 15,000 electric customers, 13,000 natural gas customers and 10,000 water customers. More information can be found at www.swlp.com.

EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. EEI members provide electricity for more than 220 million Americans, and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.