News

News

January 23, 2017

Midwest Energy Thanks Customers for Patience During Ice Storm

Following is a message from Keith Miller, Midwest Energy's Board of Directors Chair in an open letter to our customer-owners:

A lineman's holds a section of wire with nearly 2
A lineman's holds a section of wire with nearly 2" of ice on it in rural Pawnee County.
"On Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 most counties in Midwest Energy’s service area were hit with the largest ice storm in nearly a decade.  From Goodland to Lyons, up to two inches of ice  formed on our lines, which are designed to withstand a half-inch of ice.  Damage was far-reaching and extensive; over 15 counties and 6,000 miles of wires, more than 350 transmission and distribution poles, and hundreds of service lines to homes were brought down.  Nearly 10,000 were without power at one point on Monday, Jan. 16th. 

The entire Midwest Energy team mobilized; linemen, servicemen, field service assistants, warehouse personnel, and support personnel, as well as 14 contract crews and 10 more from sister cooperatives (two each from Ark Valley, Brown-Atchison, DS&O, Lane-Scott and Ninnescah Cooperatives).  They worked long hours in difficult conditions, including mud up to their axles, for seven full days until power was restored to all.  
Great Bend crews fight mud nearly eight inches deep in spots, relying on a bulldozer to tow trucks in to replace a broken crossarm on a transmission pole southeast of Belpre, Kan.
Great Bend crews fight mud nearly eight inches deep in spots, relying on a bulldozer to tow trucks in to replace a broken crossarm on a transmission pole southeast of Belpre, Kan.


The storm also brought out the best in our communities.  In Kinsley, which was hit particularly hard, the local grocery store cooked free meals for dozens of residents who lacked power at home.  In Barton County, farmers stood by with their tractors to pull drivers up mud-clogged roads.  In countless cities, neighbors helped neighbors by sharing portable generators, chain saws, and muscle while clearing away downed limbs.

Hundreds of you complimented Midwest Energy’s restoration efforts, taking to Facebook, the Internet and calling in to our offices to praise our linemen and servicemen.  But we would also like to thank YOU, our customer-owners, for your patience and understanding while we safely restored power.  Living in rural Barton County, I know firsthand how difficult it is to live without power for days on end.  But it’s inspiring that when conditions are most difficult, Kansans come together to do whatever is necessary to fix a problem.

Midwest Energy linemen from Hays build a new pole to replace one that broke near Garfield, Kan.  The trees in the background show evidence of the nearly two inches of ice deposited on them by Ice Storm Jupiter.
Midwest Energy linemen from Hays build a new pole to replace one that broke near Garfield, Kan. The trees in the background show evidence of the nearly two inches of ice deposited on them by Ice Storm Jupiter.
  Your Board of Directors does everything possible to keep your electric and gas service as reliable as possible.  We thank you for your continued support, and for being our customer."  

Making Energy Work for You Customer Support 1-800-222-3121