Trenary has new backup generator in case of future power outages

Generator helps keep water pumping system active and provide power for radio communications tower
Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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TRENARY, Mich. (WLUC) - For the past month, a new backup generator has been up and running in Trenary. This comes two years after a Thanksgiving winter storm knocked out power for at least five days in most of Alger County.

“We were getting a lot of calls that were medical related because of people’s oxygen,” said Alger County Sheriff Todd Brock. “They were scared that they were going to run out of oxygen. Many people did. We had to run portable tanks to as many homes as we could.”

Since then, the Mathias Township Clerk and other entities worked on a $28,000 project to install the generator. With the weather event disrupting communications between first responders, WPPI Energy’s Senior Energy Services Manager, Brett Niemi, says the new device would help solve the issue.

“Alger County also has a communications tower on site,” Niemi said. “Now, that tower will have backup power for EMS communications in bad situations.”

One of the utilities affected during the 2019 power outage was water because it could not be pumped. With the new generator now in place, Niemi says Trenary, and Mathias Township as a whole, will be more prepared to deal with a major power outage.

“When you run a water tower dry or near-dry, it’s significant because that’s a big resource for the community,” he explained. “Now, they can count on that resource being there for them.”

And with the rural areas relying on their radio towers, Sheriff Brock says the project would provide a boost.

“To lose a tower, especially in one of our more heavily populated areas like Mathias Township, can quickly and vastly cripple our emergency services,” he stated.

Brock also says the goal now is to have other areas and townships on board with similar projects in case any power outages affect emergency communications.

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