Oklahoma Prepares for Winter Weather

Tuesday, December 2nd 2008, 5:22 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- It's been almost a year since Oklahoma was hit by an ice storm that knocked out power to more than half a million homes and businesses.

Since then, electric companies have focused on better preparation, should a similar storm hit again.

OG&E said it has a plan to improve its system during icy weather.

It's now asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to approve $115 million to get the job done.

Wes Roberts spent a workday off putting up Christmas lights, but last year at Christmas, there was a time when Wes' lights couldn't be enjoyed. The ice storm left him without power for more than three days.

"To me, it was a really sad time," Roberts said. "One of the great things about this neighborhood are the trees and there was an awful lot that suffered." 

The ice storm brought down large trees, and with them came power lines. Millions were left in the dark.

"What we've developed is a plan to, over the next six years, we're going to take some steps to harden our system," OG&E spokesperson Brian Alfrod said.

He said part of the plan includes putting some power lines underground.

"It's extremely costly when we started looking at it you saw," Alfrod said. "It's a million dollars a mile or more, but there are going to be some locations on our system where it makes really good sense to put some overhead, underground."

OG&E already trims trees, but the new plan calls for being more aggressive.

"It can be controversial without a doubt, but when we see ice storms like we had last year, customers can appreciated the fact the trees have been more aggressively trimmed than they were accustomed to," Alfrod said.

It will likely take a few months for the Corporation Commission to approve OG&E's $115 million request.

If approved, it would add between $1 or $2 to a customer's bill each month.