Electricians working hard to restore power to 32,000 people

DEWEY, Wis (WSAW) -- More than 32,000 people are still without power following the thunderstorms and tornados that ripped through north-central Wisconsin over the weekend. Electricians are working non-stop to restore the electricity.

“I think they have done a heck of a job so far considering what they had to work with,” said Al Rzepiejewski who lives in the town of Dewey. “We appreciate all they are going through, I just hope they can get the rest of these people restored as quickly as possible.”

Rzepiejewski’s power went out on Saturday morning. On Monday crews with Central Wisconsin Electric Cooperative were able to restore power to Rzepiejewski’s home and 30 other houses in the area.

“We hope people remain patient, we are working and we are coming,” said John Bestul with Central Wisconsin Electric. “We are finding a lot of broken poles which have really slowed us down. If we only had to put up wires we could have been done pretty quickly. But when a pole is broken, we have to call in a pole changing crew which takes more time.”

Electricians across the state have been working double shifts to fix the damage quickly.

“We usually work eight hour days only Monday through Friday,” explained Bestul. “Following the storm, we have been working 16-hour shifts.”

Crews and emergency first responders are asking anyone who comes near a down powerline to not go near it.

Click here to view the list of current power outages.