Pawhuska Ready For Y2K

Saturday, December 18th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A Green Country town's electrical supply has been ready for the year 2000 since the year 1907. Pawhuska, in Osage County is one of a few towns that can restore power, if need be, with just the flick of a switch.

A nice, friendly grocery store is a high commodity in any small town. The Wadsworth's have stressed customer service since they bought the Pawhuska IGA a decade ago. And there is one thing most grocery stores stress about, that this IGA doesn't worry about, that's Oklahoma's wild weather knocking out their power supply, killing their stock. Owner of Pawhuska IGA, Robert Wadsworth says "if everybody else goes down, they can all go to Pawhuska to buy groceries that day." That's because Pawhuska has its own backup power supply.

Pawhuska utility director Paul McAlexander, "it's a 6 cylinder, 4300 horsepower." Their four generators can supply enough power to the entire town, if power from the electric company fails. So, folks in town and the IGA owner's say they are definitely Y2K ready. Wadsworth adds, "somebody a pretty long time ago had a pretty good idea. It's like an insurance policy, you pay on it for years and years and someday you will use it." Who would think these relics from the 40's, 50's and 60's raise around $15,000 a month for the town. A local electric company, O.M.P.A. pays the town to keep the generators as a backup electric supply.

Pawhuska city manager, Lucile Smith, "it's our mainstay. It's what has kept our town going since day one." And the owners of the IGA say always knowing there is back-up power is a high commodity for them.