Heat challenges electrical crews to restore power to Monona after Monday’s storm

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MONONA, Wis. (WMTV) – Hot temperatures posed the biggest challenge to electrical crews working to restore power to Madison-area residents two days after Monday’s storm.

Madison Gas and Electric general foreman Bob Harper said tall trees cause the most damage because they fall and destroy utility poles and wires.

“When the tree is down it grabs onto the wires and if the wires don’t break, the tree basically pulls the wire down to the ground,” Harper said.

His team of nine spent Wednesday restoring power to 90 Monona homes after a tree fell and a pole snapped in two.

Tree trimmers cleared the area, Harper’s team assessed the scene for safety, installed new poles and wires to restore power.

Harper said extreme heat caused three team members to overheat on Tuesday. Crew members took breaks by sitting inside air-conditioned trucks.

“It’s hot!” Harper said. “You have to go there most of the time with rubber gloves and rubber sleeves. It’s a lot to do. It’s like wearing a winter jacket in the summer.

Madison Gas and Electric prioritizes outages based on the number of homes affected. On Monday, crews worked through storm damage that affected 900 to 1,000 homes, then headed to areas like the fallen tree off Gateway Green Street in Monona.

Resident Janie Stendahl was unfazed by the wait and appreciated the work of the team even though she was without power for two days.

“Things happen!” she says. “I grew up one of nine children. I have a lot of patience. I ran a restaurant with a lot of employees. So I guess that’s just in my nature.

Stendahl threw away most of his refrigerated foods, but not all of them.

“Wouldn’t you know I just went to the grocery store and ate all this food, steak and chicken?” she says. “So last night I fired up the grill and made some steak and chicken just for me!”

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