Green Country Electric Crews Prepare For Worst

Thursday, December 5th 2013, 6:13 pm
By: News On 6

Electric utilities have been preparing since the beginning of the week for this weather.

And they've stages a lot of crews southeast of Tulsa.

Electric companies have every eye on the radar right now and say they'll be bringing in additional phone operators tonight.

They're preparing for more of this, but say they can call in help if it's needed.

The potential for snow may have the attention of some- but at PSO, the primary concern is the ice that could come with it.

"An ice storm is absolutely our worst situation," Stan Whiteford said.

Whiteford says PSO has its own meteorologist.

Right now, the company is concerned with the potential for ice in far southern Oklahoma, so PSO is sending more than 300 people with extra cable, transformers and poles to the Hugo area.

12/5/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Governor Declares State Of Emergency In Winter Storm

"That provides an opportunity to not travel so far, be able to load up, get supplies, and get right back into the work," Whiteford said.

PSO crews trim tree branches around power lines at least once every four years to avoid problems.

But Whiteford says, during the 2007 ice storm, entire trees were falling over. He also says some of the hardest hit areas were only supposed to get a few inches of snow.

"You never know what Mother Nature is going to send," East Central Electric's Tim Smith said.

Smith's crew is watching the Lake Eufaula area right now.

He's been holding preparatory meetings for three days and every crew member is on the road.

"Instead of depending on the forecast, we're actually monitoring what's going on," Smith said.

Power companies like East Central Electric say in addition to snapping power lines, ice makes it extremely difficult to get these big utility trucks down the rural roads.

"They say what compounds the issue is that we may not be above freezing for a few days.

"That sometimes is the largest challenge, just getting there," Smith said.

Smith says, since Central Electric is a cooperative, it can call in help from some 30 other cooperatives around the state, similar to what PSO does with the nationwide Mutual Assistance Group.

"We need to operate in a safe manner," he said. "We don't want anyone to be injured, but we are trying to get the lights back on as soon as possible."

Electric companies say, if you end up using a generator, don't plug it directly into your circuit box, because it can back charge electricity up the line.

You can stay up to date the progress of any power outages from PSO here.