TORNADOES IMPACT OEC MEMBERSHIP
OAKDALE, WI – On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, an EF2-rated tornado passed through Tomah, Oakdale, and Wyeville with 115 mph winds that tracked nearly 21-miles. Strong winds and rain, penetrated through other parts of Oakdale Electric Cooperative’s (OEC) territory with the hardest hit areas being in Monroe and Juneau counties. OEC crews were dispatched at 4:07 p.m. to begin power restoration.
The storm front continued across OEC territory with extensive damage to areas in Oakdale, Wyeville, Mather, Mauston, and Lyndon Station. A total of 72 outages impacted 7,081 OEC members. A damaged transmission line on US Hwy 12-16 from OEC’s generation and transmission supplier, Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC), impacted 3,361 OEC members. Highest outage reports by substation were: Mather, 1,491; Lyndon Station, 1,201; and Oakdale, 1,130.
Two additional crews were called in through the cooperative’s mutual assistance program known as ROPE – Restoration of Power in an Emergency. Vernon Electric Cooperative (Westby) and Riverland Energy Cooperative (Holmen) both sent four journeymen linemen to assist. Zielies Tree Service and members from Ho-Chunk Nation assisted in tree removal, which aided in power restoration. M. J. Electric restored the transmission line on US Hwy 12-16.
“A tornado hasn’t hit OEC territory in 22 years,” stated Construction Foreman Joe Engel. He added, “Safety was at top-of-mind when working through the destruction. We’re fortunate, it could have been a lot worse.” Crews replaced 29 poles, strung 13,200 feet of new wire, and fully restored power at 3:21 p.m. on Friday, June 17, 2022.
“The sixth co-op principle was implemented - Cooperation Among Cooperatives, and we can’t thank our crews, Vernon Electric Cooperative, and Riverland Energy Cooperative enough for assisting in restoration for OEC membership,” said General Manager & CEO Chris Tackmann. “We are proud to have a membership and communities that come together in times of devastation and the gratitude to the co-op does not go unnoticed, thank you,” Tackmann stated.