The ice storm has taken a toll on those Verdigris Valley customers still without power. It has also taken a toll on the crews working to restore electricity. The News On 6's Chris Wright reports those crews have been enduring long days out in the elements and away from their families. Some say they've also had to deal with harassment from frustrated ratepayers.
For the past nine days, Boyd Schultheiss and his Verdigris Valley Co-Op crew have been hard at work restoring power in the Collinsville area. They have been putting up new poles and installing new power lines, often logging 15 hour days. Boyd Schultheiss says while most customers are appreciative, some who are frustrated that their lights are still off, have been less than hospitable.
"We have to rebuild practically everything, and it's a slow process, some people just don't understand," said VVEC's Boyd Schultheiss.
Like many power company employees throughout Green Country, for Schultheiss, family time now consists of a quick hug from his wife and daughters, who have showed up to the work-site with cookies. His kids say it's tough to see their father not only work so hard, but also have to face harassment.
"He's out there working so much and so hard every day. And, he just gets people griping at him all the time," said Boyd's daughter, Amy Schultheiss.
"I know it's really hard to function without your electricity, and go to work and feed your family, but they're working as hard as they can," said Boyd's other daughter, Lindsey Schultheiss.
There's the very real possibility that Boyd and his crew will not get to spend Christmas with their families. But, regardless of the upcoming holidays or frustrated customers, he promises that the work will continue until everyone has their lights back on.
"We will get you on, just be patient. I didn't get power to my house until last night," said VVEC's Boyd Schultheiss.
The Schultheiss's say that many families of Verdigris Valley workers are still without power, so those crews can certainly empathize with what everyone is enduring.