WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. — We Energies has been working since early Thursday morning to restore power to tens of thousands of customers after an overnight storm.
At one point, about 43,000 customers were in the dark. By 3:30 p.m. the company's outage map reported 4,200 customers did not have power, the majority in Waukesha County. We Energies said they had a lot of equipment and hundreds of workers, including outside contractors, ready to go once the storm passed.
"We're working really hard. The challenging thing is we can usually get some of those big numbers done quickly, and then as we start to get a situation like this, it does take a while so we're just asking our customers to be patient," said Brendan Conway, a spokesperson for We Energies.
When we met Janet O'Donnell, it had been 12 hours since she lost power. Fortunately, she said her house in the Town of Ottawa is staying cool despite the summer weather.
"It's unbelievable. If I don't open a lot of things and keep doors shut and the refrigerator shut, it's not bad so far. I see how hard they're working and getting it restored," O'Donnell said.
Just down the street, crews working to get the lights back on found a mess of trees and wires, a common theme throughout the clean-up.
"There's a tremendous amount of downed trees right behind us, not right down to the root, it looks like they snapped off about 20 feet high, 30 feet high," said Russ Cared, an operation supervisor at the We Energies Delafield Service Center. "It's more of the same, but it's scattered everywhere, everywhere throughout Delafield, Dousman, Ottawa, the whole side of the county. It's sporadic."
It may be by the end of Friday when the vast majority of customers are back on. We Energies warned people to stay away from downed power lines, assume they are live and contact the utility or police.