Thousands in Overland Park bundle up to wait out hours-long power outage on frigid day


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The extremely cold temperatures were even more difficult Thursday for thousands in Johnson County, with sizable power outages.

A tiny green box caused big problems for residents of an Overland Park apartment complex.  The transformer blew, shutting off electricity for nearly seven hours.

“We want to make sure our customers get the service they’re paying for so our workers are at the ready to get out and get power restored if it goes out,” said Damon Smith, Evergy spokesperson.

The apartment community was a small piece of thousands of power outages in Johnson County, during the coldest day of the season.

“The outage that happened today out in Johnson County this morning affected roughly 5,500 people and was because of a failed piece of equipment,” Smith said.

Crews told FOX4 they had to slowly turn the transformer back on to avoid apartment residents firing up their furnaces all at once, overloading the system, and making power go right back off.

Residents said they bundled up in blankets to stay warm as the indoor temperatures dropped into the 60s.

Evergy said it’s the perfect example of why you should always be prepared for possible power outages year-round.

“You want to prepare an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, a radio and so forth,” Smith said.

Evergy workers are used to being out in extreme conditions. They layer up and keep a close eye on team members, watching for any signs of cold stress. 

And as heat kicked back on, residents were thankful for crews braving the deep freeze to get power fully restored.

Evergy said the power grid is pretty resilient so extreme cold and extreme heat don’t affect it too much. But occasional equipment failures can and do happen, and they try to get as many crews out as fast as possible to get the power back on.

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