Mutual aid helping restore power in western Kansas


WICHITA COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The weekend storm that dumped inches and inches of snow has left thousands without power.

Right now, crews from all the electric companies are working to get the juice flowing again, but it’s the aftermath of the storm that’s slowing them down.

“It’s wet and rainy, but that’s when we go to work,” said Jeff Reed, a lineman with Radiant Electric.

Crews from Radiant Electric in Fredonia joined Wheatland Electric to help with repairs in western Kansas.

“We got in last night about 7:30,” said Reed. “Spent six hours on the road getting here then we got started at 4:30 this morning.”

It’s exhausting work for the crews that have been working nonstop to repair miles of damaged power lines.

“It’s the same work we do every day,” said Reed. “It’s just the long hours after several days.”

Wheatland Electric also hired farmers to help tow trucks out of the mud.

The extra help is going a long way for the local crews.

“Without the mutual aid, we wouldn’t be able to do half the stuff,” said Nathan Porter, a lineman with Wheatland Electric in Leoti. “We’re a little outpost, and we’ve got tons of guys, great guys helping us.”

As the days wear on, they’re tackling smaller and smaller population areas. Today, it’s Marienthal.

“We got a few on yesterday afternoon ,and we’ll get a few more on tonight,” said Porter.

Crews say it’s cold and tiring work, but it’s worth it.

“Yesterday, fortunately, I got to meet quite a few customers and turn them on,” said Porter. “That’s one of the best parts about this job, you know? They appreciate it and that makes you feel good.”

Some outages are pretty remote, so full recovery is likely weeks away, but crews are focused.

“It’s tiring,” said Porter, “but it’s got to be done, so we got to get-r-done.”

Officials with one company, Pioneer Electric, which serves western Kansas, reports that it may take crews up to 10 days to restore electricity to some areas of Hamilton and Kearney counties, west of Garden City.

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