Power restored to nearly all in Merrill

Electric restoration efforts have been challenging in Merrill since a tornado ripped through the area Sunday evening toppling countless trees and power poles. At the peak of the outages Sunday night, about 6,000 Merrill area customers were without power. Wisconsin Public Service had restored power to more than 4,300 by Monday evening.
The last 1,700 customers to be restored were all within a condensed area in which almost all of the WPS system has been damaged. By Tuesday morning, all but 145 customers were back on the grid.
“We made good progress through Monday into the evening,” said Kelly Zagrzebski, WPS Community Relations Leader. “We are down to 145 customers remaining without power — but as you can imagine these final areas are to most intensely damaged. We are striving for total restoration tonight (Tuesday). We have approximately 45 line crews working in the area on top of the storm coordinators, assessors, designers and dispatchers. “
Residents are reminded to stay away from downed power lines and to treat them as if they are energized. Do not attempt to clean downed trees from power lines.
This is not a time for sight-seeing,” said Kelly Zagrzebski, WPS Community Relations Leader. “WPS has received reports of people driving into the hardest hit areas of Merrill with little regard for downed lines and crews working to restore power. If people don’t have business in the area, they are asked to stay out.”
WPS also dealt with natural gas leaks early on, caused from homes being damaged in the path of the storm. In some cases trees have fallen onto gas meters causing damage.

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