OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (WDA) — A bulky, 70,000-pound piece of electrical equipment completed its slow journey Friday morning, a hopeful solution in Osawatomie, Kansas, after four days of power outages.
When all is said and done, it will actually be five days of outages as crews plan to work through the night to install the new transformer, using a large crane to hoist the equipment at the power station near John Brown State Park.
According to updates from city leaders, this was pretty much a worst-case scenario, with smaller fixes earlier this week just leading to bigger issues.
The hopeful solution is that the new transformer, bought from Garden City, Missouri, will solve the outages that have been going on since Tuesday.
The installation will take 12-to-16 hours, according to the city’s estimation. The work is a final step following a requested State of Emergency for expedited repairs.
“I think this is a really big undertaking. And so far, I think they’ve really handled it well. They found the necessary replacement parts all over the state and got ’em here quickly,” resident Lewis Case said.
The outages are spotty, but some 300 locations have been in the dark for four days. That includes Osawatomie Court Apartments, which is senior living.
“Two friends of mine, Glora and Flora, they’re twins who live there, got stuck in the elevator,” Cate Garst, who lives at the apartment building, said.
Some renters have relocated to the First United Methodist Church, where shelter, food, and power are being offered to people affected.
Julane Williams, who is staying at the temporary relief area, pointed to the cot acting as her home for the week.
She came to the church after getting stuck in a brand-new electric recliner.
“I figured out how to lay it out. And I laid it out. And the cat jumped on me and laid out,” Williams said. “The power went out, and I kept waiting for it to come back on. It didn’t.”
“And when we finally got the whole story put together, we realized that the fix wasn’t going to be as simple as something smaller,” Garst said.
In the meantime, the electric grid is fragile. Some spots still have power, but it’s coming without the assistance of the power plant substation where repairs are happening, according to an update from the city.
As for the estimation, the power is expected to be back by midday Saturday.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Williams said with a laugh. “That’s the way life is. Believe it when you see it.”
Crews are planning to work through Friday night and warn that there could be expansions of outages as they test the new transformer.