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Comanche Co., PSO to Make Changes to Power System

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ Comanche County and Public Service Oklahoma have worked out a solution to the problem that caused a four-hour power outage last Saturday.

The outage affected both the Comanche County Courthouse and City National Bank, which is just across the street. PSO will install a new switch that allows them to isolate cables. The company put a temporary fix on the one that blew out last week. The switch makes it easier for them to pinpoint a problem in the event of a power failure and reroute power from another direction much faster.  In order to do that, they'll have to shut off power to the courthouse and City National Bank next Sunday.

PSO and the courthouse said they've made a priority list of what issues to tackle first and are preparing for Sunday's blackout. During that time, PSO will be working on its end of the problem that caused the power failure. Comanche County Emergency Management's Clint Wagstaff said the county is currently working to solve its part of the problem: an older generator. It failed to kick in during the outage.

"The emergency generator was just designed to run the basement area downstairs, the sheriff's office, the EOC," Wagstaff said. "It was not designed to run the whole courthouse, but now we're having to back up and redesign the whole system to make sure each office has at least one functional area to operate."

Because the outage affected the City National Bank as well as the courthouse, courthouse officials say they're taking extra precautions to safeguard their equipment when PSO shuts off the power on Sunday. City National officials said they're not doing anything differently. They've got procedures in place for these types of situations.

Wagstaff said another item high on the county's priority list is making sure each department is covered in the event of a power failure.

"We need to reroute a lot of essential power to certain areas so they can function normally in case of prolonged power outage," Wagstaff said.

The Comanche County Sheriff's Department will be the only department running on Sunday. Wagstaff said they've already made plans.

"The sheriff's office is 24/7," Wagstaff said. "We need to make sure we keep their communication systems up and running. We've got contingency plans in place that will go into effect before the scheduled outing on Sunday. We'll make sure it works before PSO shuts the power off."

Wagstaff said they will find out the costs of some of those upgrades to the system next week. PSO will shut the power down this Sunday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. They said if it rains, they will postpone the repair until the following Sunday.

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