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'I'm cut off from the world': Milwaukee's northside residents worried as they're still without power

Crews hope to restore power for 50,000 more customers
Posted at 5:44 PM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 18:44:10-04

MILWAUKEE — We Energies crews are working around the clock to restore power, but they are dealing with a problem they are calling its largest power restoration project in history.

Hours after the storm passed through the north side community, some people are keeping themselves busy by playing outside, while others are worried.

"I'm cut off from the world," Milwaukee resident Reynaldo Hernandez said. "Luckily, I was invited to a Bronzeville breakfast to eat, otherwise I would be starving right now."

Kids playing outside as power is still out
Kids playing outside as power is still out

Reynaldo said he has lived in the Rufus King neighborhood for more than 30 years, and has never seen destruction like this.

He said he's been on the phone with We Energies all day.

"We were told it was going to come at 8 a.m. We'd have some lights, electricity," Hernandez said.

We Energies President Tom Metcalfe said damage such as downed trees and power lines could leave some customers without power for a couple of days.

Metcalfe said Tuesday night's storm knocked power out to 180,000 customers at its peak. Since then, crews have restored power to about 107,000 customers, according to the company's outage map. He's hopeful another 50,000 will get power back by midnight.

"We will get to you as quickly as we can. There are high priority individuals that we must take care of," Metcalfe said. "We also focus on critical customers such as hospitals and critical care facilities, and then we gradually work through the list until we have every single customer restored."

But with the sun beaming down, raising the temperature and another storm incoming, people don't know where to go.

"What more can we withstand?" Milwaukee resident Teresa said. "Will there be back up in the basement? Is there a place to go for safety?"

For Reynaldo and Teresa, it's not only about the food going bad in the fridge - it's a matter of life or death.

Milwaukee's northside residents worried as they're still without power

"I'm paced (pace maker) and I do have a medical monitor, and with the internet and phone lines being down, it's on a backup battery," Teresa said.

"I had a heart problem, but it's monitored and the machine is off," Hernandez added.

Metcalfe said they have called for mutual assistance from other states to help restore power quickly.

"Getting our customers back on safely is our highest priority," Metcalfe said.

Metcalfe asks people to check the We Energies website for up to date information.

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