RHINELANDER - We learned more today about Wisconsin Public Services' five-year, $220 million project.
WPS doesn't want its customers to be out of power, so it will bury more than 1,000 miles of power lines underground.
The company chose mostly rural areas, like Vilas and Oneida counties, for the project.
That's because those areas have lots of trees that can fall on power lines during storms.
In the '50s, it wouldn't be uncommon for someone in the Northwoods to rack up days without power every year.
Thanks to efforts like tree-trimming, that number is way down.
"Today, we're talking minutes per year. There are still customers in the Northwoods that are still in hours per year, significant hours," said Richard Reitz, a WPS engineer. "We're targeting those areas where we can make the biggest improvement."
In 2014, WPS will bury lines in Minocqua and Boulder Junction.
They will also work on Highway 70 east of Eagle River.
Post Lake, Elcho, and Pelican Lake are also on the list for 2014, along with sections of Highway 101 in Wabeno.
In most places, existing poles and wires will be removed. Many lines will be bored 36 inches under the ground, while ther parts of the project will be a little messier.
"Other areas, we'll have to do some backhoe work," Reitz said. "We try to avoid backhoe work because it's mroe costly and there's more clean-up involved."
WPS has already contacted property owners who will be affected by the 2014 work.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.
"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.
RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.
WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.
But getting to the outages was a challenge.
A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.
"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."
Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.
Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.
"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."
The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.
If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.
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