Utility Crews Making A Dent In Power Outage Numbers

Wednesday, December 12th 2007, 6:00 am
By: News On 6

The worst power outage in state history is in its fourth day, and thousands of Oklahomans are asking when the power will be back on. PSO says more than 2,000 out-of-state workers have joined at least 500 of its own employees, to repair the damage and turn the power back on. PSO gave News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren a sneak peek at how it's coordinating the job.

"We have on online system on a big screen out there at the simulcast building and that's where we're showing 180,000," said PSO Vice President Preston Kissman.

PSO uses the power of computers to decide which damage gets fixed first, and which crews do the work. It's called the Outage Management System.

"The two service centers that serve Tulsa are Alsuma at 53rd and Garnett, and then Mid-Metro is at 15th and Fulton," said Kissman.

The system gives PSO managers a real-time picture of which circuits have the most customers without power. The circuits with the most number of reported outages go to the top and get the priority. Crews restored power to more than 60,000 customers in the last 24 hours, and PSO hopes for at least that many in the next.

"In a day or so, we're going to turn the system over, and people will start calling back in and creating new outage tickets. Because we know there are a lot of duplicates in this, and if we try to run all these individual tickets down, we'll be wasting a lot of time," said Kissman.

Eventually, PSO will use an automated phone system to verify that customers have power.

"So we can make thousands of calls in just a few minutes. Automated calls, and ask customers if they have service or not and they can respond to us if they have phone service," said Kissman.

PSO says the number of outages in the Tulsa area peaked on Tuesday afternoon at 246,000 customers. It hopes to cut that number by another 60,000 again on Wednesday.

If you haven't reported your power out in the Tulsa area, PSO says you still need to do that. The Power Outage Hotline is 1-888-218-3919. After you report your outage, customer service representatives may be able to estimate when your power will be restored.

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Elsewhere, Northeast Electric Cooperative is working to get 9,700 customers turned on. East Central Electric Cooperative has almost 9,700 customers in the dark. Seven-thousand customers in Verdigris Valley Electric’s coverage area are off line. And 3,500 Indian Electric customers are without electricity.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric outage information.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma outage information.