Local Electric Companies Prep For Power Outages

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Electric companies across the area are preparing for power outages in anticipation of winter weather.

Greg Davis with Arkansas Valley Electric and Rob Ratley with the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company (OG&E) said they are prepared in case of icy weather, which is forecasted to soon roll into Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

“As far as the winter weather goes, ice is absolutely the worst,” Davis said.

“We`ve contracted close to 450 contract crews,” said Ratley.

Ratley said OG&E has prepped all year for the anticipated weather, by carrying out precautions such as trimming tree limbs near power lines.

“When the tree limbs become laden with ice, they don`t have the effect on the lines that they normally would,” he said.

The two said although they are as prepared as possible, concern is high for those whose heath may be compromised or for those living in rural and remote areas.

“We want them to be making preparations for a worst-case scenario,” said Davis.

Davis said people often assume that electric companies are aware an outage has occurred, but that's not always the case. When power goes out, he said customers should find a way to report it.

“Our main concern is the accumulation of ice,” said Ratley. "Snow and sleet doesn`t really affect our system as badly, so that`s what we are primarily watching.”

Chad Adams, district engineer with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, said the department's trucks are all equipped and ready to go. Crews are scheduled to come in at 5 a.m. on Thursday.