WPS crews in California helping restore power after destructive storms

For the Tomahawk Leader

CALIFORNIA – Nearly 50 employees from Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and its sister company We Energies are in California this week working to get the lights back on for tens of thousands of people who lost power from a series of strong storms.

WPS and We Energies crews are part of a mutual aid effort to help Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) address outages from storms, flooding and mudslides, a release from WPS said.

The crews loaded their trucks and left Wisconsin on Saturday, Jan. 7. After traveling across the country, they were in California on Wednesday, Jan. 11 and began restoration efforts in the central part of the state.

Amy Plato, an Area Manager for We Energies, is part of the group in California. She said they expect to be working for at least two weeks to restore power.

“Here at We Energies and WPS, we’re a pretty tight-knit family, and we want to help,” Plato stated. “Being a part of a restoration effort like this is really amazing. These guys are so proud to be able to come to California and help the customers here.”

“WPS and We Energies have a history of providing mutual aid during large outage events,” the release said. “The companies sent crews to Puerto Rico for two months in 2018 to help rebuild the U.S. territory’s electric grid after the unprecedented destruction caused by Hurricane Maria.”

“The PG&E employees, they’re exhausted,” Plato said. “We’re here to at least help them get some rest so we can take over, help them out. We have a good group here – we’re going to get some work done.”

The WPS and We Energies workers are joining crews from across the country, and Plato said the response from local residents has been “incredible.”

“People are excited that we’re here,” Plato stated. “They want to get back in power. It’s just really amazing how we’re welcomed with open arms.”

Photo courtesy of WPS.
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