Evergy: storm damage could ‘stretch into the millions of millions of dollars’

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Evergy has announced that it has repaired nearly all of the damage done from Wednesday night’s storm but is still working “around the clock” to restore power to its customers.

Following the extreme wind conditions of Wednesday night, Evergy has been working to restore power to its customers and, according to a recent conference, has successfully brought power back to 90% of its customers.

The majority of Evergy customers who remain without power live in Kansas according to Evergy Chief Customer Officer Chuck Caisley. More than 28,000 customers are still without power in Kansas and Missouri.

“Through the end of the day tomorrow we are hoping to get a significant number of people restored and get closer to that 95, 96, 97 percent of our customers restored,” Caisley said.

However, Caisley went on to say that some people may be without power until as late as Saturday due to the widespread nature of the damage. The Wednesday night windstorm brought 70-80 mph gusts of wind and knocked out power across large areas of Kansas and Missouri. Over 258,000 people were without power last night.

Caisley was not able to give an estimate on how much damage the storm caused but did comment during the conference that it would be “a stretch into the millions of millions of dollars.”

Caisley attributed the long repair time to the size of Wednesday night’s storm as it stretched from Oklahoma to Nebraska, encompassing the entirety of Evergy’s service area. Instead of a concentrated area of storm damage, power lines were knocked out across both cities and dozens of rural communities with some power outages affecting only a couple of customers each.

Gusts of wind reportedly even reached 100 mph at the Evergy wind farms in southern Kansas, the equivalent of an F1 tornado.

Caisley went on to encourage Evergy customers to stay safe in the aftermath of the storm and report any ongoing outages.

“Until then, we urge a couple of things. Please stay away from areas that have been blocked off either by utility personnel, fire department or law enforcement. If there’s barricades up and if it looks like there are wires down, that could very be a dangerous situation,” Caisley said. “The second thing that we would ask is your patience. We get it, it’s the holiday season. People have plans, people have activities. Nobody wants to have an outage at this time of the year.”

Due to the widespread nature of the damage, Evergy called in additional help from crews in Ameren, Liberties Utilities and City of Springfield to help restore power. Evergy promises to work around the clock until power has been fully restored.

“We are doing absolutely everything we can, throwing everything we have at it and asking for assistance from our brother and sister utilities in neighboring states,” Caisley said. “We are going to work around the clock until we get these outages restored.”

See below to watch the full news conference.

Customers of Evergy may report power outages at Evergy.com and can sign up for outage alert texts when their account is registered online. Outages can be reported by phone at Evergy Central (1-800-544-4857) or at Evergy Metro (1-888-544-4852).

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