Electricity back on in majority of county

Beware of scams to repair homes

Staff reporter

Some of rural northern Marion County got an early Christmas present this week in the form of something so simple.


At 6 a.m. Thursday morning, approximately 700 customers throughout the Flint Hills RECA service territory were still without electricity. According to Bill Wessel, a "rough" estimate of 250-300 were in Marion County.

Even with the progress the RECA crews and 140 crew members of subcontractors have made, some Marion County residents won't have electricity by Christmas.

Heartfelt gratitude to paid staff and volunteers was expressed by Marion County Commissioners during Monday's meeting for the response during the winter storms that left much of the north part of the county without electricity.

Acting public works director John Summerville thanked his crews for working all weekend and "not complaining about it."

About 60 county emergency medical technicians, firefighters, and sheriff's deputies gave up their Saturday afternoon and evening to check on the welfare and well being of rural residents without electricity, and many without telephones.

Warmer temperatures and melting snow made repairs easier for utility crews with Westar Energy and Flint Hills Rural Electric Cooperative Association announcing that customers in Marion County should have power before the end of the week.

Earlier predictions were power not reaching some rural customers until after Christmas or sometime in January.

Crews from more than 20 states have been in Marion County the past two weeks, working 12-to-16-hour days, to get power to residents. Hundreds of poles and miles of electrical wiring had to be replaced.

The next culprits for residents are con artists who may prey on storm victims.

As early as Monday, there were out-of-town and out-of-state individuals in Marion County, looking to offer their services to residents.

Residents are reminded to only hire reputable contractors with references. Don't pay money up-front for services. Ask for a written estimate before any work is completed.

Contractors must be licensed in some cities. Ask for those licenses.