NORMAN, OK—Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) continues work in the Cole, Blanchard, Etowah and Little Axe areas following confirmed EF2 and EF3 tornadoes that occurred on Wednesday, April 19. While crews restored power within hours to most of the members affected by the storms, some remain without power.
“As the storms rolled through, 16,000 OEC members lost power,” said Brianna Wall, OEC manager of marketing and member relations. “The fact that we were able to restore power to most of those members in a matter of hours is a testament to our incredible line crews and supporting staff members.”
The storms destroyed more than 170 poles and nearly 10 miles of electric and fiber lines across OEC’s seven-county service area, something OEC considers to be a significant loss.
“Thanks to our years-long investment in improving our system reliability, we were able to restore power much quicker than we would have a decade ago during a storm of this magnitude,” Wall said. “The addition of fiber communications and smart equipment to our system helped reroute power from available substations so we could quickly energize homes and businesses. Because these storms hit very rural areas, however, we still have a lot of work to do.”
Crews worked through the night and into Thursday and made much progress, some of which occurred after fallen and damaged transmission structures were repaired. Construction of new poles continues Friday and will remain until all members have power.
“Thankfully, we have a great partnership with contractors who are aiding our crews in restoring power as quickly and safely as possible,” said Wall. “As our line crews restore power, OEC Fiber crews will be able to rebuild the fiber system in the affected areas to restore internet, phone and TV services to subscribers.”
The OEC Foundation’s Operation Round Up program is able to offer financial aid to anyone affected by the storms in OEC’s service area, regardless of their electricity provider. More information about this program and the application can be found at www.okcoop.org/ORU. Contact Tory Tedder-Loffland at 405-217-6726 if you have questions about the application or program.
“Our hearts go out to members who have been severely impacted and displaced by these storms,” said Wall. “We are so grateful to the members who round up their electric bills each month and make it possible for us to provide assistance during times like this. We thank all of our members for their patience, encouragement and kind words as we continue working to get power back on for everyone.”
To learn more about our outage restoration process or to keep track of our progress, visit www.okcoop.org/outage-map or follow OEC on social media.
Oklahoma Electric Cooperative is the state’s largest member-owned electric cooperative and provides electricity to over 45,000 members and 62,000 accounts in seven central Oklahoma counties. The service area includes approximately 2,200 square miles and 5,600 miles of line. To find out more about OEC, visit www.okcoop.org.