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Electric Utilities Prep For Possible Oklahoma Ice Storm

Posted: Updated:
TULSA, Oklahoma -

With the threat of ice this weekend, we wanted to know how some utilities have changed the way they respond to ice storms since our crippling storm of 2007.

Electricity crews are doing a lot of maintenance work right now to prepare, but also doing a lot of behind the scene work to make sure they have what they need just in case.

Ice can be just as dangerous and damaging as the rest of the severe weather that rolls through Oklahoma.

During the 2007 ice storm, at one point about one million PSO customers lost power - some of them were without power for 10 days or more.

With the potential for ice this weekend, PSO’s Stan Whiteford said the company is preparing for that possibility.

"There's a lot that we do behind the scenes," he said.

PSO notifies out-of-state utilities that it may need some help and asks that some of their crews be put on stand-by.

The staging area is ready, and crews are doing some routine maintenance at possible choke points.

They learn from every storm, which means they can respond more efficiently.

Whiteford said, "We're using a common system to all other emergency responders now, so we are all speaking the same language."

Although crews are working diligently to clear out those branches and stabilize those electricity poles, if a huge ice storm comes, hundreds of pounds’ worth of ice could end up on those power lines and bring it all down.

"The line and the pole come down and you'll have that cascading effect, and we've seen that out when you have really heavy icing we may have a mile of poles and lines down," Whiteford said.

Whiteford said safety is always top-of-mind, so stay away from downed lines and give crews the room to work.

"It's a dangerous job our people do," he said.

We also checked with the rural electric co-op, which will also have additional crews on standby to take care of damage.

They are urging people to practice generator safety, and if you use an oxygen machine, make sure you have a backup place to stay.

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