OKLAHOMA CITY, June 14, 2002 — OGE Energy Corp. recently announced its Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company subsidiary has completed the largest disaster restoration in the company’s 100-year history.
The severe ice storm that swept across northern Oklahoma Jan. 30-31 knocked out electric service to more than 195,000 OG&E customers. The longest any of those customers was without power was 13 days, but it took 4-1/2 months to completely repair the massive damage.
Recently at the OG&E system control center in Oklahoma City, OGE Energy Chairman, President and CEO Steve Moore “threw the switch” to energize the last remaining line left powerless since the ice storm. The 345-kilovolt “Sooner-KG&E” line north of Enid, Okla., serves northern Oklahoma and connects OG&E’s grid with the Kansas Gas & Electric system.
“We are pleased to announce our electric transmission and distribution system is back at full strength, just in time to carry the heavy summertime power load,” Moore said. “This was a mammoth undertaking, and the fact that so many projects were completed so quickly and safely is a testament to the people who organized and executed this huge restoration program.”
The ice storm destroyed 1,700 transmission structures and put 270 miles of cross-country transmission lines on the ground. In at Least 60 OG&E cities and towns, hundreds more miles of power lines collapsed under the weight of heavy ice that also took down 6,000 distribution poles. OG&E’s response involved more than 2,000 people, including 900 out-of-state contractors.
OG&E, Oklahoma’s largest electric utility, serves 700,000 customers in a service area spanning 30,000 square miles in Oklahoma and western Arkansas.
OG&E was the hardest-hit utility in Oklahoma, where President Bush declared 45 of the state’s 77 counties as federal disaster areas. The ice storm covered one-third of OG&E’s service territory and affected 29 percent of its customers.
Earlier projections indicated that the cost of restoration would surpass $100 million and could approach $140 million. Final totals are not yet available, but more recent estimates suggest that favorable springtime weather for reconstruction of the system, together with lower-than-expected costs for some of the required materials, should prove helpful.