APACHE, OK (KSWO) -To help with the outages in southern Caddo County, the Caddo Electric Cooperative called in reinforcements from other states to help them eliminate the number of outages.
Some Caddo Electric customers have been without power for three days. Crews from Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Louisiana joined the Oklahoma workers in Apache to get the power lines up and functional again Tuesday.
Repairs that would only take a few minutes to complete in good weather can often take much longer in cold and icy conditions. After a 15-minute repair job was completed, crews worked for another 30 minutes to pull their trucks out after they got stuck in the soggy, snowy ground. They even had to carefully drive a few miles down the highway in the opposite direction of their next repair job in order to find a safe place to turn their trucks around without getting stuck again.
Caddo Electric's vice president of strategic planning Boyd Lee says with the ice and snow on the ground, this is the new normal.
"We may be doing nothing more than repairing a cross arm brace up and you back the bucket into the ditch, so the lineman can get to the project. You get finished 15 minutes later then you have to pull the tuck out. Sometimes you have to pull two trucks out," Lee said.
He hopes customers will be patient and understand the workers are going as fast as they safely can taking care of one job at a time.
"Virtually all our customers went without power. For the first day, we had 17,500 of our 18,000 meters that were without power," Lee said.
Although they have drastically brought that number down, there is still much to go.
"In your viewership area, we are looking at two to four days probably for all of them. We have parts of our territory up in the north around El Reno and Union City that are still looking at 10-14 days unfortunately," Lee explained.
Lee also wants people to slow down when passing the workers on the road.
"We currently have 500 to 600 men on our lines now, on the highways, everywhere…give them a break. Where you're going is not going to get there fast enough, you're not going to make up anytime by jeopardizing their lives and yours," Lee said.
There were roughly 150 poles damaged, and Lee says many will have to be replaced. He says the repair shouldn't take too long because they already have the parts to do so.