5 days after storm, some Northwest WI residents still without power

Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:55 PM CST
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WINTER, WI -- Almost a week after a storm delivered inches of snow to parts of the Northland, some residents in Northwest Wisconsin still don’t have power.

“Our power went out Wednesday night and we still have no power,” said Jodi Hayes, who lives in Winter, Wisconsin.

Residents in communities like Winter and Radisson, Wisconsin have been dealing with the challenges that come with those outages since late at night Wednesday.

“All our neighbors and everybody around the area are totally frustrated that there’s not enough help up here,” Hayes said.

There are three major power companies that service Sawyer County.

As of 2 pm Monday, county officials said Xcel Energy had restored power to around 90% of customers, Jump River to about 98%, and North Central to around 80%.

North Central Power appears to be where most of the outages lie, but residents like Hayes acknowledge they’re hard at work.

“North Central Power is doing everything that they can, and they’re working as hard as they can. They just do not have the manpower to do it,” she said.

When we reached out to North Central Power for comment, we were hung up on twice after identifying ourselves as a news outlet.

We tried reaching out a third time later in the day and weren’t able to reach anyone.

They’ve consistently communicated with customers via Facebook.

As the power companies work to get things back online, Sawyer County officials have been busy providing resources, like warming centers and wellness checks for residents without power.

“Anyone that north central power is not able to get a hold of, law enforcement has been going into those homes to check on the residents to make sure that they’re okay,” said Joyce Knowlton, with Sawyer County’s Public Health Department, said.

But even as local agencies try to wrap up this wave of outages, residents are wary of the forecast for later this week.

“It’s really supposed to get cold out this week, I had 8 below this morning, and they’re talking 14 or 15 below zero here probably tonight and the next night I guess,” said Phil Quade, Town Chairman for Radisson Township.

Another storm, one that’s potentially colder and windier, could sweep through the area later in the week.

Hayes worries that could make an already bad situation, worse.

“When this wind comes everything’s just gonna start snapping again and powerlines are gonna go down,” she said.

County leaders aware of the situation and says they’ll continue to assess it as the week goes on.

“We’re a little bit concerned. We think we have it under control right now. But obviously, we’re going to be working very closely with the power companies,” said Knowlton.