Winter storm knocks out power

Staff writer

About 300 Westar Energy customers between Marion and Hillsboro were still without power Thursday morning.

Gina Penzig, director of corporate communications for Westar, said power outages were first reported between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 19. in northern and central Marion County. The combination of snow, ice, and wind caused downed power lines and in some cases downed poles.

“You add wind gusts and it creates problems,” Penzig said.

Penzig said that members of the local Westar crew that operates in Marion and McPherson counties had been working since about 3:30 a.m. Power had already been restored to 200 customers in Marion County by 8 a.m. Penzig said the order of priority importance for Westar is to first restore lines supplying power to hospitals, police stations, and other emergency services.

Then crews go to power outages that affect the most customers. She said of the eight active outages Thursday morning in Marion County, one affected 50 or more households. The other seven, in locations such as south of Florence and north of Walton, affect fewer than 50 households.

Penzig stressed if customers spot a downed line, to assume it is live, leave it alone, and then call 911. To report outages to Westar, call (800)-544-4857.

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