Craig Day, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The impact from this historic heat wave in Oklahoma is getting worse, much worse.
Now Public Service Company of Oklahoma is asking customers to immediately take steps to conserve power or we could experience rolling blackouts.
The emergency appeal is specific for Thursday, August 4, 2011 but PSO customers are urged to conserve as much as possible during the duration of this extreme weather or we could have those blackouts.
Josh Peak knows what it's like to lose power during Oklahoma's historic heat wave. An electric company mechanical problem meant two hours without air conditioning.
"It wasn't fun at 105, 110 degrees with no electric or AC," said Tulsa resident Josh Peak.
All of PSO's 532,000 customers in Oklahoma could soon experience blackouts because of the record breaking demand for electricity.
"Supplies are very, very tight," said Stan Whiteford, PSO spokesperson.
Whiteford says PSO is operating at near capacity. They can handle demand now, but if the situation worsens, it could prompt rotating blackouts.
"Things are tight and it's important for people to know things are tight," said Stan Whiteford.
PSO would rotate the areas affected by the controlled outages over the 230 cities and towns it serves.
"Those planned outages would happen generally in about hour long blocks so that no individual would be out more than an hour or two at a time," Stan Whiteford said.
Customers over PSO's 30,000 square mile service area are being asked to take immediate steps to reduce electric use, including setting the thermostat higher on air conditioning units. It's something Josh Peak plans to do.
"We can turn down our AC a little bit and turn the fans on, I don't look forward to doing that, but if that's what they're saying we have to do, we're going to have to conserve in certain areas to help them out," said Josh Peak.
If the situation worsens, the blackouts would happen without any further notice to customers. PSO hopes it doesn't come to that, but wants customers to know the situation is serious and rolling blackouts could help avoid the possibility of more widespread outages.
PSO says their plan is designed to minimize the impact on critical public health and safety facilities.
PSO has reduced power use at its own facilities and is working with commercial and industrial customers to reduce their power use.
Customers are being asked to reduce the demand for electricity...