Rural Oklahoma Electric Co-ops Prepare For Storm

Monday, January 31st 2011, 7:09 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News on 6

UNDATED -- Rural electric coops across the state are preparing for the worst.

At the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Co-op, crews are putting snow chains on their trucks. They're gearing up, gassing up, and getting ready for one doozy of a winter storm.

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"Just got a job to do. Going to make sure you're ready, so when it comes if it does, we're ready," said Co-op employee J.D. Davenport.

Davenport is preparing his truck and equipment. He hopes for the best, but is preparing for the worst.

"Putting other things on it that we may not use on a daily basis, you know," he said.

It's all hands on deck for employees like Davenport. There will be extra help for the dispatch center, and extra crews in the field.

Crews in neighboring states are on standby, but since the storm is so enormous, they may have their hands full with problems at home, so the co-op is expanding its call for help.

"We're making contact with crews in Louisiana and Southeast Texas so we can pull from them as needed," said Robert Echenrode, NE Oklahoma Electric Co-op

In addition to extra manpower, the co-op has extra supplies on hand like poles and transformers.

The most recent storm that even comes close to what is forecasted is the '09 Christmas Eve blizzard. It is feared, this storm will be worse.

"We're forecasted to have anywhere from 12 to 18 inches in the northern part of our service area and even our big trucks have difficulty getting around in that deep of snow," Echenrode said.

Add much colder temperatures and it takes a toll on equipment and it's hard on people.

"The wind will be blowing so fiercely at 20 and 30 miles an hour, their ability to cope with that wind will be very challenging," he said.

Rural co-ops across Oklahoma hope with a lot of pre-planning, they're ready. Now, like everyone else, they're watching to see how bad it is going to get.

"Plan ahead, and be aware, this is a life threatening storm," Echenrode said.

For power companies, the biggest threat is the combination of ice and gusty winds. Snow is better, but some parts of our area will get both, and it's tough for big vehicles to get around in deep snow.

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