Tens of thousands were left without power after the Christmas ice storm and with that came many service calls and just as many questions about how, why and what happens when the lights go dark.
One of the most common questions asked is: What happens when I call and say my power is out?
“The reason we need people to call in is because that generates a ticket, a trouble ticket in our system,” said Kathleen O’Shea from Oklahoma Gas and Electric.
But just one call is good enough, O’Shae added. Multiple calls from the same address create duplicated tickets and may gum up the system, forcing time to repairs to grow.
“That makes things slower. That could generate slower because that could generate multiple tickets for you. So now we have five tickets for you rather than one. So it's better for you to just call once,” O’Shea said.
Another question: Why does my neighbor have power and I don't?
“Typically that means you're being fed by different circuits,” O’Shea answered with a smile.
She said it’s an all too common question and understood why it’s “annoying for people.”
“[Depending] on how your house is fed, it may be totally different than the people across the street.”
Finally the all-important question: When will I get power back?
O’Shea said there is no sure answer. Winter brings all sorts of other problems, like the cold, wet weather and the risk of falling ice. All are factors that could turn a job that would normally take two hours during the summer into something that takes two day or longer during the winter storms.
“With an ice storm you have it and then you have the thawing period, which is when you start having more outages. So we can put stuff up when the ice is there, but it may come back down again when it thaws,” she said.
Thawing ice can also mean more outages are on the way. As heavy ice breaks away from lines, the cables snap back, sometimes ripping them from their insulators attached to the poles, according to O’Shea.
Should you see a crew leaving your neighborhood before the power is back on, O’Shea asked for patience. She said most likely the workers didn’t have the right tools for the job or they found the source of the problem somewhere away from the neighborhood.
She also said never chase after a crew or walk up to workers at a scene. Often when linesmen are working the scene is still unsafe and they most likely won’t be able to help.