Verdigris Valley Electric Crews Work Around The Clock In Ice Storm

Sunday, December 22nd 2013, 11:29 pm
By: News On 6

Crews are making headway after thousands of Oklahomans lost power in the pre-Christmas ice storm.

Some have been in the dark for more than 36 hours.

Some line crews have worked more than 24 hours straight, clearing downed trees off power lines.

12/22/2013 Related Story: Crews Make Headway Restoring Power To Northeastern Oklahoma

We caught up with some Verdigris Valley Electric Cooperative crews, who were back at it again on Sunday in Rogers County.

The winter storm has made for some beautiful views in Oklahoma, but it's come at a price.

"It's been a little cold," Claremore resident Lucas Smith said. "Luckily, we had a friend with a generator."

Smith lives just on the Sequoyah-Claremore line.

December Storm Coverage

But the only line he's concerned with is the one leading to the transformer near his home.

"We've got enough power to run the refrigerator and a little bit of heat."

George Marshall says he's had two sleepless nights because his sleep apnea machines won't work with a generator.

But he knows crews are doing what they can in the cold conditions.

"I used to be down at the Port [of Catoosa], out in the cold working, and I know how this was," Marshall said.

Verdigris Valley crews are helping restore power to hard hit residents, for the second time this," foreman Boyd Schultheiss said. "We were down there for 11 days; we're back here for two days, and here we go again."

Schultheiss said the broken poles and icy roads made the Hugo restoration slow going.

But he's not complaining about the small break in-between jobs.

"Some guys have been at it for longer than I've been," he said. "They've been at it 24 or 25 hours."

Schulthieiss says although they haven't had to replace many poles in Rogers County, there have been challenges.

"You've kicked one line on, and you might have one or two go off behind you," he said. "…A lot of the stuff we can't drive right to, a lot of walking."

He says with nearly half an inch of ice on the power lines, the wind is the biggest concern now.

But their hard work, even on little sleep, has already paid off for Smith.

"I was excited," he said. "The holidays are coming up, and we didn't know if we were going to be able to leave or not."

Verdigris Valley Electric Co-op says it has electricity restored to almost all of its customers in Rogers County. By 10 p.m. on Sunday, less than 30 members remained in the dark.

Current VVEC Outage Map