Westar prepares for weekend ice storm

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The KSNT Storm Track Weather team says an ice storm is still on track for the upcoming weekend and ice is no friend to power lines.

Westar Energy says the weight of the ice can snap the lines, leading to power outages for customers. While Westar Energy crews are prepared to repair damage and the company has asked neighboring utilities to be ready to help, if needed, consumers can get updates in the palm of their hand.

Westar Energy says consumers can download a free mobile app that provides access to outage reporting and can enroll for text updates for notifications of power outages that affect them. Westar Energy’s website includes an outage information center with outage reporting, an outage map and information on how to prepare for storms.

One way to prepare for a power outage is to prepare a storm kit. Westar says by assembling a storm kit and creating a communications plan for your family that spells out how you’ll check in on each other to be sure everyone is safe. A storm kit includes non-perishable food and water, a weather radio, a battery-operated radio, flashlights, blankets and extra batteries. Charge cell phones in advance and have an external cell phone battery. Waiting out a winter power outage may not be safe for some, such as elderly or very young people. Plan ahead for anyone who may need special assistance.

Westar says storms may damage the equipment that is attached to a home or business and connects it to the power grid. This equipment is the customer’s responsibility and may require repair by an electrician before Westar can safely reconnect electricity.

Ice and storm conditions can bring power lines down. Always assume a powerline is energized and stay away from it. Report downed lines to 911.

If you are in a vehicle that comes into contact with a power line, stay in the vehicle and call 911. Wait in the vehicle for help to arrive and ensure that you can safely exit the vehicle.

Ice can collect on power lines, weighing them down. This can cause lines to gallop (similar to whipping a rope with your wrists). If you observe galloping lines, keep your distance. The ice could break loose and be flung from the line or the ice could cause the power line to break; both are a danger to anyone standing nearby.

Reporting a power outage

  • To report an outage, be sure you have the correct phone number for your account available.
  •  Enroll in updates by texting REG to WSTAR (97827). Text OUT to WSTAR if your power goes out. Once enrolled, Westar will notify customers if an outage may be affecting their home or business.
  •  Outages can be reported online (using a desktop computer or mobile device) at WestarEnergy.com.
  •  The MyWestar app, available for iOS and Android, includes access to outage reporting.
  •  Call 1-800-LIGHT-KS (1-800-544-4857) to report an outage.
  • To avoid overloading emergency dispatchers, please do NOT call 911 to report an outage. Only call 911 to report downed power lines, which could pose a safety risk.

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