Power shut off leaves ranch and horses without waterSubmitted: 07/19/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

HARSHAW - No power means no water for the animals at Leanne Chaney's ranch. This was a big problem this week when high electric bills caused her to fall behind on payment.

"They could have died... on a 90 degree day with a heat index in excess of that, in the hot sun... The horses had been without power, without water since 9:23 that morning," says Chaney.

The previous owner of Chaney's horse ranch left her with a big problem- One she didn't know about until her first power bill.

"They just came in with vehicles and took off the trailers and things that were there and really didn't cap off the power...The first bill that we received was $450 something."

So she called WPS, and was surprised to learn they couldn't help her.

"Any power that comes to the box WPS will be in charge of, any power after the box is something that the homeowner is in charge of so any lines that have been put down beyond the powerbox is something they are not responsible for."

The problem is buried cables leaching power into the ground. Chaney's bills climbed through the winter, and her payments fell behind. She received a shut-off notice, and her full payment came too late.

"If that check is not received by that certain date we do put them back on the disconnect notice and they will be disconnected," says Mike Kuczmarksi, Operational Supervisor with WPS.

Luckily Chaney's horses did get water by 9:00 that night, and seem to be ok. Now she's converting her ranch to solar power.

She doesn't agree with what the power company did, but they both agree that having another power source is a good idea.

"We always tell people have a back-up plan. There's no way if a big storm rolls through the Northwoods here and everybody is out of power that we can guarantee you power to keep your animals fed or oxygen if you have a person that needs oxygen in the home. Always have a back-up plan," said Kuczmarksi.

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