PSO crews cutting into outages, state declares emergency in key counties
By John Dobberstein, Editor
PSO and emergency crews are making a dent in the massive power outages in eastern Oklahoma caused by Sunday’s storm.
Additionally, emergency declarations have been signed by the state of Oklahoma, the cities of Broken Arrow and Tulsa and others as authorities continue to prepare for additional emergency work to help cities recover.
Gov. Kevin Stitt and Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell were both of state Tuesday, so Stitt called on Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, to sign an executive order declaring a state of emergency for eastern Oklahoma.
The state of emergency is for Choctaw, Creek, Delaware, Harper, Mayes, Pawnee, Payne, Rogers, Tulsa and Wagoner counties.
The action will relax laws and regulations on the shipping of goods for emergency use, allow agencies to have more purchasing powers, and automatically triggers the state’s price gouging statute.
“I personally witnessed the damage and devastation of the storms as I drove back to Oklahoma City from Catoosa yesterday,” Treat said in a statement Tuesday. “It was clear that people in eastern Oklahoma are struggling and need all the support the state can give them during this time. Impacted Oklahomans are still without power and heat indexes are exceeding triple digits.”
Some have been unhappy with delays seen this week in getting the state of emergency declaration signed. Treat said he was notified he was acting governor by Stitt at about 1 p.m. Tuesday.
He said he began reviewing documents the governor’s office prepared at 1:40 p.m. and signed it before 2 p.m. – prior to the governor’s press release calling on Treat to sign the state of emergency.
Attorney General Gentner Drummond said the “days-long lack of action highlights the need to reform certain emergency response procedures.
“While I understand there are many measures the governor can employ in times like these when out of the state, an emergency declaration can only be issued by a governor who is physically within the state of Oklahoma,” Drummond noted Tuesday. "However, there is no requirement for the governor to notify the lieutenant governor when traveling out of the state. There is similarly not a requirement for the lieutenant governor to notify the president pro tempore of the Senate, or on down the line of succession.
“We have seen the unnecessary delay and confusion this creates, all at the expense of Oklahomans struggling to cope with emergency circumstances."
Drummond said it would take a simple change in law to require better communication between high-level officials in the line of succession.
“My fellow Oklahomans in the Tulsa area have been suffering a great deal and deserve the utmost focus and attention in times like these,” Drummond said. “I hope the governor and legislature will work to ensure Oklahoma families and businesses don’t experience similar delays when future disaster strikes.”
Drummond encourages citizens to be on the lookout for contractor fraud and to report suspected fraud by calling toll free 833.681.1895.
Outages cut nearly in half
PSO said late Tuesday it had restored electric service to more than 90,000 customers in Oklahoma, down from a peak number of approximately 204,000 customers without power earlier this week.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, approximately 113,890 customers remain without power, mostly in the Tulsa area.
The majority of the more than 2,700 utility workers – line workers, forestry and support personnel – traveling to the PSO service area to assist with the restoration effort have arrived and are working in all areas impacted.
A total of 700 PSO employees and local business partners have been working since the storm subsided.
The following are current estimated times of restoration (ETRs):
• Mayes, Delaware, Craig, Osage and portions of Rogers County – between now and 5 p.m. Wednesday
• Tulsa, Wagoner, Creek and portions of Rogers County – between now and 5 p.m. Saturday
Customers can view real-time outage and restoration information by visiting psoklahoma.com/outages/status.
Those with questions related to their PSO power should call 1-833-776-7697 (1-833-PSO-POWR) or visit our website at psoklahoma.com/outages.
Report and Track Outages
• Visit psoklahoma.com/outages/report/ or call 1-833-776-6884 (1-833-PSO- OUTG) to report an outage, safety hazard like a downed wires, downed poles or trees that have fallen on power lines.
• Use the mobile app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play, to report an outage, check outage status, view and pay your bill, manage your account, and more.
• Visit PSOklahoma.com/OutageMap to find detailed information without logging into your account.
• Sign up for text and email updates, including estimated time of restoration, at psoklahoma.com/alerts. Follow @PSOklahoma on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor for additional updates.
• Call PSO Customer Service Center at 1-833-776-7697 (1-833-PSO-POWR) for any other customer service issues.