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Omaha area residents without power are losing patience and buying generators

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 5:48 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Omaha Public Power District has managed to restore power to more than 100,000 people in the Omaha metro area since Saturday’s early morning storm, but as of Monday afternoon, 30,000 are still in the dark.

“We figured oh, it’ll probably be on Saturday and it wasn’t. And then Sunday we thought it might be on, and it wasn’t.”

Tony Chereck and his son Tyler live in La Vista. They say they’re beginning to lose their patience, especially since their next-door neighbor has power and they don’t.

“It hasn’t been too bad, at least it hasn’t been crazy hot,” says Tony. “But [it’s] frustrating that neighbors down the street and across have power and we don’t,” he says.

“Most of the neighborhood has power, just not us,” Tyler says.

Like the Cherecks, many others around the Omaha metro are becoming increasingly irritated, but are still trying to remember that crews are doing the best they can.

“It’s probably a combination of frustration and also understanding, you drive around to any neighborhood and there’s trees down, poles down, it’s just kind of the way it is so we’re making do the best we can,” says Cliff Janikowski, who lives near 97th and Blondo.

Despite the downed powerlines in his yard and his neighbor’s yard, OPPD hasn’t come to clean it up.

“One of our neighbor’s trees fell over on a line and actually took the tops of two poles out so I’ve got a transformer in my backyard and there’s another pole out in my neighbor’s yard,” he says.

The generator Janikoski bought should hold them over until power in the area has been restored.

“I kind of projected this would be kind of a long power outage so I did go buy a generator,” he says. “We actually were in South Dakota yesterday morning and we picked one up out of state, they were sold out everywhere.”

Janikowski isn’t the only one who had trouble finding one, either.

“Council Bluffs’ Menards was sold out the first hour and a half they were open so we finally found one all the way in Sioux City, Iowa,” says Mark Rymer.

Rymer lives at Carter Lake. Rymer says many people in his neighborhood also bought generators.

“We don’t live in the caveman days anymore but it feels like we are, so it gets rather frustrating. We all kind of pick at each other now and my little dogs are burned out from it also so, yeah, it’s been real frustrating.”

But luckily, he says, there is always someone close by to lend a hand.

“We’ve all chipped in with each other and brought coffee to each other and that, so it’s a great neighborhood to live in,” he says.

OPPD says they expect another 10,000 homes to have restored power by Monday night.

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