By Justin Martino, Associate Editor, Power Engineering & Jeff Postelwait, Online Editor, Electric Light & Power/POWERGRID International
Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. (OG&E) reported around 35,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas remain without power after tornadoes hit the region on two consecutive days Sunday and Monday.
Most of the damage Monday was focused in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office has estimated 24 people were killed, although that number is likely to climb.
OG&E, a unit of OGE Corp. (NYSE: OGE), posted Tuesday morning on its Twitter page that around 35,000 customers are without power in Oklahoma and Arkansas and that damage assessments are starting in Moore. There is no estimated time when power will be restored to the areas, the company stated on its Twitter page.
The company also stated Monday night that crews from Texas and Louisiana would be arriving to help with repairs from the storm damage.
“It’s going to take time to repair the damage,” the company stated on Twitter.
OG&E spokesperson Brian Alford told Reuters Monday that he could not supply details about damage to the network. He said about 38,000 customers were without power early Monday evening, with nearly half those outages occurring in Moore.
Southwest Power Pool spokesperson Tom Kleckner said the utilities are currently working on the damage, but the overall electricity supply for the region is stable and there are no reliability issues. SPP is the independent system operator for the area.
According to the outage tracker on OG&E’s website, the following communities are still attempting to restore power (All locations are in Oklahoma unless otherwise noted):
Moore: 18, 719
Oklahoma City: 1,741
Fort Smith, Ark.: 869
Van Buren, Ark.: 281
Ozark, Ark.: 94
Charleston, Ark.: 73
Monday’s tornado followed a similar path to one that struck Moore on May 3, 1999. According to Reuters, the tornado in 1999 ripped down four of the five major power lines servicing Oklahoma City and caused more than $15 million in damage.
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