A jolt of powerful news for those still left in the dark
Thu, 08 Mar 2012 22:59:19 GMT —
It has been six days since the big March snow storm hit and some people are still without power.
But Thursday night, the number of those without power is getting smaller.
Crews expect to have even more up and running by the end of the night.
We talked with Great Lakes Energy about the struggles to get there customers out of the dark.
"Weâ??ve had a lot of bad snowstorms, but this is the worst I remember," says Laurie Springstead, who was sitting in the dark at her Antrim County home.
Springstead missed the snow dump we got last weekend, she was on vacation, but since Monday, she has depended on generators and four dollar a gallon gasoline to get her through. On day number six -- a powerful sign.
â??This looks good, means we'll have power!" she smiles.
Linemen say it is one of the toughest restoration efforts many of them have ever seen. Dave Matz, who is Great Lakes Energy's Director of Operations, says this is the worst he's seen in his 31 years.
â??The conditions are such it just takes us so long to get to anything," says Matz.
Deep snow, broken trees, impassible right-aways made it tough.
â??It's been pretty long, haven't had much time for family, everybody's been working long hours, lots of stress," says Kent Weiderman, a Dispatcher for GLE.
Inside the brain of GLE, dispatchers have had plenty to deal with. At one point, more than 62,000 of their customers were in the dark. Thursday, that number is 602.
â??We want to restore the greatest number of those out first, that's going to get members on, and when we hit those first, it really, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but of course we want to get all members on," says Weiderman.
Weiderman says some of the people who have waited the longest for power are angry, the skull and bones on the computer screen represent those who are extremely angry.
â??I think we'll have most of them on today, there may be some that we missed, that maybe they're seasonal, not here, for some reason not called in, but we should have all of them on today," says Matz.
â??They've been tremendous, they've been working really good, working hard," says a happy Springstead, who will have power for the first time since the storm hit.
Six straight 16 hour days has taken its toll on the front-line. Although none of the crew would go on camera and say it, they tell me once power's back for everyone, it'll be lights out as they finally rest.
Cherryland Electric is reporting about 1,300 customers still without power.
Presque Isle Electric and Gas only has about 240 customers without power this evening, and crews will continue working until midnight.