Storm Knocks Power Out for Thousands

Mostly mid-to-northern Door WPS customers are without power, but some southern Door outages also reported

More than 77,000 Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) customers throughout northeastern Wisconsin remained without power as of 11 am Wednesday, April 3, including most people who lost power in Door County the evening before during the snowstorm.

WPS had large and isolated outages reported countywide – affecting more than 7,000 customers in mid-to-northern Door County – and as of 8:30 am, none of the outages north of Sturgeon Bay had a predicted time for restoration.

A few of the outages in the Northport and Rowleys Bay area had a “WPS Equipment Problem” listed as a cause. However, throughout the WPS outage map, most of the outages listed the cause as not determined at this time.

WPS spokesman Matt Cullen said repair crews arriving at the scene of outages throughout northern Wisconsin have found a wide array of causes, from fallen power lines and broken utility poles to trees falling on lines.

Door County was under a winter weather advisory starting on April 2, when strong winds and wet snow blasted across the peninsula in the late afternoon, knocking down trees and power lines. As of Wednesday morning, it was still snowing though the winds had subsided somewhat.

Cullen said strong winds and heavy snow and ice on power lines was resulting in new outage reports on April 3 in parts of the WPS coverage area. In addition to Door County and Green Bay, the Marinette area was hard-hit, he noted.

Repairing lines on the Kangaroo Lake causeway in Baileys Harbor on Wednesday morning, April 3. Photo by Mike Bacsi.

A WPS emergency center employee, after the report of an outage and blown transformer on the south end of Egg Harbor at 6:30 pm, April 2, said in addition to the outages reported countywide, there was damage to a substation. She did not specify that location.

As of 10 am Wednesday, most towns and villages in Door County were without power, although Sister Bay seemed the least-affected, with WPS listing only 335 customers without electricity in the village. Part of Baileys Harbor and the Town of Egg Harbor had some power restored by 2 pm Wednesday, and WPS reported that its number of separate outages was cut in half in Door County between 8 am and 2 pm.

Cullen said outages began in mid-afternoon, April 2, in northern Wisconsin and 32,000 customers’ power had been restored overnight. Despite that progress, new reports came in during the morning of April 3.

“We have crews out in all of the areas,” Cullen said.

WPS urged customers to report downed lines to the company, to stay at least 25 feet away from fallen lines, and to report road hazards to law enforcement.

While he did not know the exact locations of all crews and subcontractors, he said WPS has mobilized all its resources to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible.

Sturgeon Bay Utilities (SBU) only reported one outage this morning, in the vicinity of Buffalo Ridge Trail in the northeast part of the city. SBU General Manager Jim Stawicki said half of the SBU line crews mobilized today to help with restoration and repair in Kaukauna. SBU has mutual-aid agreements with its 50 fellow Wisconsin Public Power members.

However, SBU crews restored power after a few isolated outages affected about 30 customers Tuesday afternoon, including one at Cabot Point.

SBU crews weren’t hearing about outages but were responding to calls about lines hanging down and fallen branches for its customers in Sturgeon Bay, Clay Banks, Sevastopol and Nasewaupee. WPS still had 29 customers without power in the Town of Sturgeon Bay as of 10 am, with 650 in Nasewaupee, more than 500 in the Town of Union, 11 in Clay Banks and 314 in Brussels.