Friday, July 18, 2014

PSCW approves construction of West Central lateral

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) today approved our plans to build an 85-mile natural gas lateral from Eau Claire to Tomah at a project cost of just over $179 million. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015.

We filed plans with the PSCW in March 2013.

The project is designed to address growing demand and to bolster the reliability of our natural gas delivery in western Wisconsin. Ten communities along the proposed route have passed resolutions authorizing us to provide natural gas service within their borders.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Restoration wrap up, answers to questions

Our crews, contractors and support personnel have worked safely and without incident to restore electric service to more than 125,000 customers who lost power when intense storms raked southeastern Wisconsin on Monday evening.

In terms of customers left without electric service, this is the fourth-worst storm in our history and worst since 2005. The main culprit was high winds that snapped branches and uprooted trees, which then brought down poles and power lines, causing extensive damage to our electrical distribution system and leaving a tangled, dangerous mess – particularly in Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.

Thanks to all the customers who remained patient throughout the outage and to our contractor personnel and crews from MGE, Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy for helping us during the restoration.

Answers to some frequently asked questions:

Why couldn’t I get through to report my outage?
We experienced some technical issues with our automated phone system on Monday night that may have been due to the extraordinarily high volume of calls that flooded our system shortly after the storm hit. As a result, many customers were unable to report their outages. The issue was resolved later that evening.

How do you prioritize repair work?
Critical or emergency services are restored first. Then we work to repair situations that will restore power to the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. We work down that list until we reach the more isolated or individual issues. The objective is to restore as many people as possible as soon and as safely as possible. This process inconveniences the greatest number of customers for the least amount of time, but we understand the frustration of being one the customers out the longest.

Why did my estimated time of restoration keep changing?
We make estimates because we want customers to know the approximate time they can expect to have their power restored. The estimate is based on our experience and our understanding of the situation. Once crews arrive at the scene, an estimate may change because of changing priorities or conditions. For instance, a crew may provide an estimate after assessing a situation but may find that repairs are more extensive than anticipated, so they adjust the estimate accordingly. In many instances, they are able to complete work faster than estimated, but sometimes work takes longer than expected.

Why did I not see a crew after being told a crew had been dispatched?
Crews are dispatched to identify, isolate and correct or repair issues on our electric distribution system. The situation that caused you to lose power may have originated a long way from your home. If a crew was dispatched to restore your power, you can be assured they were working on it, even if you could not see them.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More than 120,000 customers restored so far

Most outages have been caused by tree damage.
Crews have restored service to more than 120,000 customers since powerful storms rocked southeastern Wisconsin since Monday evening. The number of customers that were impacted by the storm was more than 125,000.

As of early this afternoon, about 4,000 customers are without power, mostly in Waukesha County. We expect to have all or nearly all of those customers restored by later this evening.

You can call 800-662-4797 to get updates and estimates for restoration on specific outages. When you call, we may indicate that a crew is assigned, which means a crew is scheduled to fix the problem but is not yet on the scene and may take a while before it arrives. In some cases, we indicate that a crew has arrived, which means they are making repairs, which may take hours, depending on the extent of repair needed.

In addition to our crews from southeastern Wisconsin and the Fox Valley, we have help from contractor personnel and crews from MGE, Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy. A total of approximately 500 workers are in the field working on the restoration effort.

This is the worst storm to impact our electric distribution system in almost a decade, with widespread damage to poles and wires, much of it caused by trees and branches toppled or snapped by high winds. Based on current information, this storm caused the fourth-most outages of any storm in our history.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of all of our customers who lost their service and especially those who remain without power.

Crews are replacing hundreds of wires and poles.

When we get numerous outages at the same time as in this storm recovery effort, we prioritize our response. First, we address situations that are life-threatening or hazardous, such as a power line on a street. After these situations are addressed, we make equipment repairs that are causing outages to the greatest number of customers. First come transmission lines, then substations, then main distribution lines, then secondary lines to neighborhoods and finally service lines to individual homes and businesses.

Visit our website for our Outage Map and other outage and safety information