Residents fear power outages similar to those of last summer following Wednesday night's storms

NOW: Residents fear power outages similar to those of last summer following Wednesday night’s storms

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- With potentially severe storms blowing through Southeast Wisconsin, many are having flashbacks to last summer when they faced up to four and a half days without power after storms in August.

At Luke and Walton Avenue in Waukesha, many neighbors say last summer they had to throw out all their food.

They said they all called We Energies multiple days in a row and couldn't get a technician out.

"'Oh, this is the first we've heard about it'," recalled Esmeralda Lazcano, one of many who struggles with long outages in the area.

She said that's the answer she got from We Energies in August, but she said she had already called.

"I called yesterday, my neighbors all called, we wanted know know what you could do, so [they said] 'someone will be out there by 8 o'clock tonight," said Lazcano.

She said four times in the 30 years she's lived there it's been bad, but last summer was the worst.

CBS 58 spoke with people living in special needs housing there that said it was even worse because of their conditions.

"Four days later, no power," said Lazcano, "So we try to buy ice, then after that I had to go take my stuff to my son's house."

Eventually, she said her neighbors bought a generator.

Matt Young, department supervisor at the Waukesha Home Depot, said portable generators that can run in outdoor well-ventilated areas are fast to set up, but more permanent solutions take some time to get installed.

He said if your power is out and you buy a small generator, it likely won't be powering your whole house.

"What [do] you need to have powered?," asked Young. "Your main power-sucking items, if that makes sense, in this case -- like your refrigerator, your furnace."

He said you shouldn't use just any extension cord as well.

"Good heavy duty extension cords, don't use regular gauge extension cords, you always want to overestimate your power needs," said Young.

It's something Lazcano said her family is seriously considering.

She said last time, when the crew finally came out, it didn't even take that long to fix.

"It's frustrating because I know it's going to happen again and I don't know how long it's going to be," said Lazcano.

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