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Public power utilities respond to power outages caused by ice storms

November 16, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
November 16, 2020

Oklahoma public power utilities embarked on a large-scale restoration effort after a historic ice storm caused widespread outages the week of October 26-31, the Oklahoma Municipal Power Agency (OMPA) reported on Nov. 12.

OMPA said that statewide, more than 300,000 customers lost power in the first 24 hours of the storm, due mainly to fallen trees.

Utilities in Oklahoma typically employ tree-trimming programs to avoid such disasters, but this storm came earlier in the year than normal and dumped several inches of ice onto trees that still hadn’t lost their leaves, thus impacting trees that had sustained decades worth of winters.

The state’s public power utilities deployed their mutual aid program to get customers back online, as crews from around the state answered the call for assistance, as well as crews from utilities in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.

Fourteen of the OMPA’s 42 members suffered outages in the first day of the storm, while another 15 experienced outages in the following days, impacting thousands of customers. One public power utility with just less than 16,000 customers had 260 different individual outages on the second day of the storm.

Several of the outages OMPA members saw lasted days, some the entire week, due to the extensive damage sustained from the fallen trees. However, all OMPA members had power restored by Monday, November 2, with a few remaining service drop issues.

OMPA offered thanks to the following crews for assisting members with outage restoration:  GRDA; Tahlequah, OK; Claremore, OK; Skiatook, OK; Pryor, OK; Collinsville, OK; Stilwell, OK; Bentonville, AR; Wellington, KS; Coffeyville, KS; Siloam Springs, AR; Monet, MO and OMPA Field Services.

NPPD helps Burt County Public Power District restore power

Meanwhile, in partnership with other public power utilities, Nebraska Public Power District assisted Nebraska’s Burt County Public Power District in making repairs after a hard-hitting ice storm earlier this month.

Along with NPPD, crews from the following utilities assisted Burt County Public Power District assisted with power restoration efforts: Elkhorn Rural Public Power District, North Central Public Power District, as well as Niobrara Valley Electric Membership Corporation.