Power outages from storm continue as group calls for Milwaukee to move to public utility

NOW: Power outages from storm continue as group calls for Milwaukee to move to public utility

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Severe weather that rolled through our area Friday night still has thousands of people without power.

We Energies says at one point Friday night more than 100,000 customers were without power.

We Energies says it expects to have 95% of their customers restored by Sunday night -- while the remaining customers will have their power restored Monday.

In the wake of these power outages, there's a group advocating for a different type of power utility in Milwaukee.

"Past day and a half we've been in the dark pretty much," said Larry Gross, who says his power had been out for over 36 hours on Sunday.

He says his house is one of dozens in his Brown Deer neighborhood that has been without power due to these multiple poles that were broke by the storm.

Gross says as they've been trying to keep their fridge cold with ice, We Energies has been working on the issue.

"They said that they rig, they would not work with the soft ground here, that they would get stuck," said Gross.

We Energies officials say they were back at it again today.

"Our crews are out there, they're working 16-hour days," said We Energies spokesperson Alison Trouy.

She says to continue to report any outages and stay away from downed lines, and to contact insurance with any loses.

"We do recommend if they've lost food or anything, that they reach out to their home insurance, that's the best way to take care of these things," said We Energies spokesperson Alison Trouy.

Meanwhile in Milwaukee, the 'Power to the People' Campaign were out canvassing Sunday, advocating for Milwaukee to establish a public utility company operated by the city instead of We Energies, similar to Manitowoc and many other cities across the US.

We shouldn't be exploiting working folks here, taking money from the community to people who frankly have no stakes in what happens here in their day-to-day lives," said Greg Brown with the campaign.

He says a public utility can focus on reinvesting profits on the infrastructure instead of paying investors.

Brown said some people losing a fridge full of food and needing to deal with insurance may not be an issue.

"But there are a lot of folks, elderly folks, poor folks, that that is not the case," explained Brown.

Which is why they're calling for signatures to get local leaders to start talking about switching, in hopes of having less downtimes, quicker repairs and cheaper prices.

"If you want to head over to powertothepeoplemke.org, that's a good way to get involved," said Brown.

Gross says waiting has been tough.

"I think it's taking longer than I would've expected, I'm not happy with the response. I know there's a lot of people that have outages," said Gross.

We Energies officials say they're thanking everyone for their patience and appreciation for the crews.

"We really appreciate everyone who has come up to our crews and thanked them, waved at them, brought them water, it's been a really really kind gesture from our customers," said Trouy.

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