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A South Dakota Department of Transportation plow clears snow along U.S. Highway 16A near Keystone on March 14, 2019.

RAPID CITY, SD — Black Hills Energy reminds customers to stay safe during hazardous winter storm conditions and offers tips to prepare customers if there are weather-related service interruptions. The National Weather Service forecasts snow, severe winds and blizzard conditions in northeastern Wyoming and western South Dakota that started Friday and will continue through Sunday morning.

“Being ready for safe, reliable service is our priority. We regularly inspect and maintain our system to ensure reliability and safety,” said Marc Eyre, director of electric operations for South Dakota and Northeast Wyoming region. “Our expert crews are scheduled 24/7 during storm conditions for any electric emergency that requires immediate attention.”

During any extended outage situations caused by severe weather, Black Hills Energy works with local news agencies to keep you informed about service restoration. If an electrical service interruption occurs, Black Hills Energy will make every effort to restore your power as quickly as possible. These situations are an inconvenience, and we appreciate your patience as we work to restore service.

In the event that an unexpected outage occurs, follow these guidelines for staying safe:

1. Prepare for an outage by setting up an emergency drawer or kit that’s easy to access, even in the dark. Stock it with fresh batteries, a battery-powered radio and a flashlight. Avoid using candles, lanterns or oil lamps because of the fire risk. Be sure everyone in the family knows where the emergency drawer or kit is located.

2. If any member of your family is on life support, plan for arrangements today to get them to a location where their needs can be met if electric service is interrupted. In addition, please contact Black Hills Energy at 888-890-5554 to be sure the company is aware that a life-support system exists at your home.

3. If you are outdoors, never touch or attempt to pick up a fallen power line, and keep children and pets away. Assume any downed power line is energized.

4. Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with a power line. If you see a downed power line, call Black Hills Energy's emergency number 800-694-8989 or 911 immediately.

5. Unplug sensitive computer and electronic equipment or protect them with a high-quality surge protector.

6. If your power goes out, see if your neighbors have power. If they do, check your home for blown fuses or a tripped circuit breaker.

7. If your neighbors don't have power or if you can't locate the problem, call Black Hills Energy's emergency number at 800-694-8989.

8. Leave a lamp, electric radio or your portable mobile computer/phone device on so you know when service is restored.

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9. Turn on a porch light. As Black Hills Energy is restoring power, seeing your porch light come on allows crews to confirm that your power is back on without knocking on your door or checking the meter.

10. For long power outages, do not open your refrigerator or freezer more than necessary. Undisturbed food will remain frozen in most freezers for 12 to 48 hours.

11. Do not use charcoal grills to heat your home or cook indoors. Dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death.

12. If you use a portable generator, follow the manufacturer's safety and operating guidelines. Be sure to operate the generator in a well-ventilated area. Never operate it indoors or in your garage. Again, dangerous carbon monoxide fumes can build up and cause injury or death. Because carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries installed to warn you of potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

During an outage, follow Black Hills Energy's on outage information at blackhillsenergy.com or facebook.com/blackhillsenergy

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