MG&E continuing to restore power after Monday’s storm

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Gas & Electric is still trying to restore power to hundreds of customers after Monday’s storm knocked out power to more than 24,000 in the Madison area.

In the wake of unique damage, the likes of which MG&E said it has not seen in decades, the utility stopped providing estimates on just how soon power will be restored.

“We appreciate their patience,” said MG&E spokesperson Steve Schultz, adding that the utility was trying to avoid making false promises. “We don’t want to put something out there and have people expecting that it’s going to be taken care of by this time and then it’s not.”

Wednesday night, restoration estimates were once again available on the company’s website.

“Earlier Wednesday evening, MGE resumed estimated restoration times for outages impacting more than one customer,” the company said in an emailed update just after 9:45 p.m. “Restoration activities also continue on outages impacting a single customer. Single customer outages currently have an estimated restoration time of 12:00 a.m. on June 17. The actual restoration for individual incidents will vary. Some will be sooner.”

As of midnight Thursday morning, 581 customers remained without power. Before Wednesday’s storms rolled across Wisconsin, MG&E was reporting roughly 1,300 customers were still in the dark.

Crews have been working 16-hour shifts since Monday to try and restore power as quickly as possible, Schultz said, and the utility has pulled roughly 100 additional workers as part of a mutual aid agreement to supplement the existing crews.

Before Wednesday’s storms moved through, he said any severe weather occurring Wednesday night would likely slow progress to restore power to households even if it did not create more power outages.

Damage from Monday’s storm has continued to prevent crews from assessing and fixing the outages.

“With the trees that have come down and the need to get tree trimming crews there before we can even really get at and assess the damage to understand what we’re working with,” Schultz said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Gary Humphrey and his wife were still waiting for their electricity to be restored.

“It’s tough,” Humphrey said.

“I got up this morning and realized, ‘I can’t make coffee!'” he added.

The Humphreys are not alone. Crescendo Espresso Bar has seen customers come by for both a cup of coffee and internet access.

“I live down the street and work from my home office. We had a tree that was on our neighbor’s property and it fell down on our garage and hit my office yesterday. It took down some internet lines,” said John Nguyen. He was at the coffee shop working remotely because of internet issues as a result of the storm.

The business itself had to adjust to the storm as well. Co-owner Paul Sirianni said when the business lost power, they had to get rid of some items that went bad in their refrigerator.

“Having to throw away products is not fun,” said Sirianni. “It’s literally money down the drain.”

Nguyen and Humphrey said the power outages made him realize how much we rely on electricity each day.

‘”It’s pretty inconvenient,” said Nguyen. “It’s a little bit of a wake-up call to how much our infrastructure can go down when things go wrong.”

“You don’t realize how dependent you are on electricity until you don’t have it. It’s everything we do,” said Humphrey.

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