2023 System Reliability Index

Coop CurrentsCoop News

Perhaps the biggest news about outages from 2023 is that WEC began changing how it manages them. Last year, WEC made changes to its software so members can access more information in real time. Members experiencing outages now receive estimates for when power will be restored. The Outage Map on wec.coop shows whether outages are localized or widespread, when the outage was first reported, and when crews are assigned to repair the line, as well as restoration estimates.

As in previous years, trees and weather were the main causes of WEC outages in 2023. Tree damage caused 47% of outages–nearly half–followed by weather at 17%. As part of the Co-op’s ongoing investment in protecting power lines from dangerous trees, 4,326 trees deemed a threat were removed from WEC’s rights-of-way. Between 2017-2022, WEC cataloged where tree outages were most persistent, and analyzed this data in 2023. The results will inform a new maintenance plan for 2024.

No one needs reminding that extreme weather impacts infrastructure. Four storms met major storm criteria in WEC territory last year. A storm cycle in November and December closed out the year with week after week of wet snow. July’s historic flooding damaged roads more than it damaged lines, but those road washouts caused crews delay in reaching and repairing poles and wires. Overall, WEC replaced 32 poles broken by weather last year.

2024 brings a new three-year Construction Work Plan. The plan dedicates 75% of its budget to reconstruction and upgrades, including a complete advanced metering infrastructure system replacement, approximately 750 new transformers, the complete replacement of two substations and upgrades to others, and more. Other improvements will focus on “hardening the grid,” or reducing its susceptibility to damage, such as shortening spans of line between poles.


Average number of WEC member households in 2023


Approximate number of square miles in WEC service territory


Separate outages on WEC’s system in 2023, not including major storms

843 / 874 / 730 

Number of separate outages on WEC’s system in 2022 / 2021 / 2020


Number of WEC consumer hours out in 2023, not including major storms


The rolling average annual number of consumer hours out over the last 10 years, not including major storms


2023 weather events that met major storm criteria: March 14, July 9, November 27, December 3


WEC poles broken by severe weather in 2023


Percentage of 2023 outages caused by trees


Number of “danger trees” removed during 2023 maintenance clearing


miles of distribution line that received maintenance clearing in 2023

For updates about maintenance clearing, look for the “Where’s WEC” column in most issues of Co-op Currents or click Right-of-Way and Field Work Notices on wec.coop