Power companies: prepare for possible outages in snow and ice, clear meters

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- In anticipation of the snow, rain and overall messy weather headed toward us, Wisconsin Public Service and WE Energies are preparing their staff for response. They're also sharing an important message with all of us.

An advisory was sent out Friday afternoon about the importance of clearing gas meters of any snow or ice. To do this, they said to clear snow from roofs and remove any icicles that can drip water onto the meters and freeze.

WE Energies said they have received numerous reports of damaged meters in the Marshfield area, especially. It can turn into a deadly situation when the damage causes a gas leak and puts your family at risk.

"You can also add a sheet of plywood over the meter, by adding protection. Also avoid hitting or kicking that meter to break away that built-up snow and ice, because that can cause additional issues to those meters," said Amy Jahns, media relations for WE Energies.

Jahns said another issue that tends to happen in winter storms is power outages due to downed power lines. Oftentimes, when roads are icy, vehicles crash into power poles, taking those lines down. For that she said, slow down.

As power crews are keeping tabs on the forecast for updates, they're making sure they have plenty of poles, wires and other equipment on hand if a power outage should happen. As a precaution, having a generator is a good backup when the power goes out, as is having plenty of blankets, flashlights and batteries.