VVEC Plans To Meet With Ratepayers

Monday, April 21st 2008, 11:26 pm
By: News On 6

Electric utilities took some heat after the December ice storm.  Power outages taxed resources and frayed nerves.  News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports electric companies are evaluating their response to the storm to see if there are ways to improve reaction the next time a natural disaster knocks out power.

In the days after the ice storm, 20,000 of Verdigris Valley Electric's customers were without power.  Linda Koellner's family, including her daughter, were among them.  The family says the outage is now a bad memory.

Verdigris Valley Electric will meet with ice storm victims and others in the community to talk about their response and improvements the electric co-op is making.

"Overall, the power restoration went pretty well.  The biggest problem I think we came across was getting information out to our members," said operations manager Randy Riddle.

The co-op plans to tell people at the upcoming North Tulsa County Neighborhood Association meeting about their plans for improving communication.

"She called a couple of times and it was just busy, busy, busy.  You couldn't get through at all," said Linda Koellner of Collinsville.

Verdigris Valley plans to put in a new phone system which will increase their number of lines from 19 to 46.  The utility is also considering outsourcing any overflow calls to a call center.  New features are also being added to the co-op's website.

"What type of damage we have, what type of restoration time we have in mind and that type of stuff," said VVEC's Randy Riddle.

Operations manager Randy Riddle says the meeting will be a good forum to tell customers about the utility company's procedures.

"There really wasn't reason for a lot of people to get irate like they did.  They were out here working daily, 24/7," said Linda Koellner of Collinsville.

Linda Koellner and her family say the dialogue with the power company is a good step toward improving service if and when there's another damaging storm.

The meeting with the North Tulsa County Neighborhood Association will be at 7 p.m. on April 29th.  It will be held at Grace Baptist Church at 96th Street North and Highway 75.

Co-op customers will be able to submit questions in writing during the meeting.