by Baylor Spears, Wisconsin Examiner
Gov. Tony Evers declared an energy emergency on Wednesday in preparation for power outages caused by downed trees and accumulating ice on power lines from the winter storm that swept through Wisconsin.
Many Wisconsin residents were without power Wednesday night and into Thursday as snow, sleet and freezing rain bombarded the state. The executive order signed by Evers provided waivers from certain federal and state requirements to give more flexibility to in-state utility workers and allow out-of-state workers to come to the state to help restore power.
“During and after a winter storm, restoration of power is critically important to the safety and well-being of folks across our state,” Evers said in a statement. “As we continue to deal with the challenges of severe winter weather and its impact on everyday necessities, the health, welfare, and safety of our neighbors remains our top priority.”
The winter storm also brought dangerous road conditions and closed schools across the state.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, more than 32,000 customers were without power across the state Wednesday night. We Energies reported more than 26,000 customers without power. Alliant Energy reported roughly 3,000 customers without power. Wisconsin Public Service reported more than 3,800 customers without power.
Evers’ order gives workers flexibility by waiving hours of service, certain driver qualifications and International Fuel Tax Agreements and International Registration Plan requirements for utility workers.
“This executive order will allow for a more swift and efficient restoration of any electric power outages throughout the state,” Evers said.
Evers has declared multiple energy emergencies in recent months due to winter weather, including one in late December and another in early January.
This story was written by Baylor Spears, a reporter at the Wisconsin Examiner, where this story first appeared.
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