The race to get power back to thousands of homes and businesses throughout southeast Wisconsin is on. Unfortunately, a few of them may not get electricity restored until Saturday.
Kevin Fletcher, the President and CEO of WEC Energy Group, the parent company of We Energies, says it all comes down to the extent of wind damage at certain spots.
Fletcher, whose own home remains without power from the wind storm, estimates about 80 percent of customers who lost power will have it restored by 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
“We'll have about 90 to 95 percent of our customers restored by 11:59 p.m. Friday,” Fletcher said. “By early Saturday customers that are still out, should either be restored, or we'll have someone assigned to handle the challenge with their particular outage. We will continuously update our outages map online.”
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, We Energies crews had restored power to about 100,000 customers since early Thursday morning. At the peak of sustained, high winds overnight, about 150,000 in Southeast Wisconsin were without electricity.
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Teams with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works are out working too. The challenge is in how widespread the wind damage and outages are.
“That means it takes a little bit longer in some cases to get crews to the right place if we need additional help,” Fletcher said.
Gusty winds that remained throughout the day Thursday did not help recovery efforts.
In Wauwatosa, the Holiday Inn on North Avenue near Mayfair Mall, will have to replace their sign which came down. Not far away, on Wisconsin Avenue near 65th Street, a tree came down in front of a house, blocking the front entrance and driveway.
On Milwaukee’s south side, near 35th and Lincoln, a power line rested on the branches of a tree, and caution tape was up to keep people away.
Heading north, an entire tree blocked the road near 88th Street and Good Hope Road. Debris covered various streets in Shorewood and Glendale.
Over at Bradford Beach, picnic tables and umbrellas were blown around and flipped over.
Families who are part of Candy Cane Lane in West Allis are left picking-up wind-thrown Christmas decorations.
As of Friday evening, still about 50,000 We Energies customers in our area are left hoping their power is restored sooner rather than later.
It was just a little more than four months ago, that we experienced storms that caused the biggest power outage in We Energies history. The extreme heat was a concern back then in August. Obviously now in the winter, there are different challenges, and power is necessary to heat homes.
To reduce the chance of pipes freezing, keeping a trickle of water running from faucets is helpful.