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.

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