CKenergy Electric Cooperative is reporting increased service interruptions, outages, and blinks across its service area. The interruptions appear unrelated to weather and a CKEC spokesperson says the co-op is taking the situation very seriously.
“When we report on power outages, we tend to focus on the total amount of outage time,” said Clint Pack, CEO. “Due to the frequency and duration of these outages, we feel it is important that we address these concerns. Furthermore, our members deserve to know.”
Part of the problem, Pack explained, can be traced to damages the system incurred following two massive ice storms in 2015. While the November 27, 2015, and the December 26, 2015, ice storms occurred before Caddo Electric and Kiwash Electric consolidated to become CKenergy, the damages affected CKEC’s service territory.
The ice storms weakened our distribution lines as well as our power supplier’s transmission lines. Unfortunately, some of the weaknesses didn’t become evident until heat and stress were placed on our power lines.
Government “red tape” is further compounding the problem. While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared both storms as disasters, Pack pointed out that mitigation funds, as well as other federal funds, require paperwork and a drawn out bidding process before work can begin.
“It takes several months before the process is complete and we can move forward with the work,” Pack said. “In the meantime, CKEC is using our own manpower to perform maintenance work such as re-sagging lines, straightening poles and changing out lightening arrestors.”
Recently, the highest percentage of outage time is due to power supply interruptions at substations owned and maintained by CKEC’s power supplier.
“When a substation is dropped or even a circuit from one of our substations is lost, the result is a large percentage of our membership loses power,” Pack explained. “We have contacted our power supplier following each event. Together, we are addressing and will continue to address these issues until the problem is solved. CKEC and its power supplier are committed to providing reliable service and we want our members to know we are looking for long-term solutions to these issues.”
Living in Oklahoma, we have a pretty good idea of just how crazy our weather can be at times. We can go from a bright and sunny day to a dark and stormy night in the blink of an eye. We can even go from
small flurries of snow to an inch and a half of ice over everything in sight in no time at all. With weather extremes, like we tend to see here in Oklahoma, it always pays to be prepared for outages, whether it’s for an hour or even for a week. Check out these tips from Safe Electricity and Food Safety.gov for what to do when the power goes out.