Weekend power outage impacts downtown Tulsans

Monday, November 3rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Two days after a major power outage hit downtown Tulsa, some high-rise buildings were still without power. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg investigated what's holding things up.

At last report, there were several buildings still without power, two days after this all started. We'll tell you why the wait feels a lot longer from some than it does for others.

For office workers, like the ones in Boulder Towers, Monday was a day off. But for other people, like the one in Liberty Towers, this is where they live. "It's mainly our elderly residents that we're concerned with. A lot of them can't get down the steps."

Liberty Towers has a lot of senior citizens. Liberty Towers manager Lisa Hays: "and we just call them and say, hey do you need some coffee, you need your paper, y'know, just anything, how's your food going, that kind of thing.” And Liberty Towers has a lot of steps. "If you need to take a break, let me know, because I will."

Residents like Bill Johnson are volunteering to help run errands for their older neighbors, sometimes walking all the way up to the 24th floor. Bill Johnson: "I can get your newspaper and bring your newspaper and bring it up to you if it's down.” Floyd Walker: "Would you do that." Bill Johnson: "Oh, absolutely." Floyd Walker: "it's quite difficult to try to live here under these conditions." Floyd Walker is frustrated after calling AEP-PSO's customer service. "And she assured me that the power would be on by midnight last night. I don't know why they would tell people things, unless they're true."

Part of what makes the repair process so difficult is that downtown, the cable is all underground. Along Cheyenne, they've pulled out about 700 feet of charred cable. When all is said and done, they'll have to replace about 21,000 feet.

AEP-PSO spokesman Ed Bettinger: "it's hazardous working in these underground vaults and we have to take great precaution to make sure our employees work safely."

AEP-PSO is apparently still in the dark on why this all happened. We asked about the cause, but they say right now, they're concentrating on getting the lights back on.

Power to most of Liberty Towers was restored early Tuesday morning.