OPPD is always ready to respond to outages. When those outages are weather-related, they face added challenges. This is especially true during cold, snowy and icy conditions.
How ice and wind impact power lines
Newer transmission lines, the large high-voltage power lines that bring electricity from substations to lower-voltage distribution lines, are designed to handle 1 ¼ inches of ice with no wind, or winds of up to 90 mph with no ice.
Distribution lines, the lines flanked by shorter, typically wooden poles, feed neighborhoods. They are designed to handle up to a half inch of ice and up to 40-mph winds.
At left, OPPD crews work on a broken cable spacer during blizzard conditions Feb. 23, 2019.
OPPD is ready to respond in the event of outages:
- When forecasts are particularly bad, the district will bring in extra troubleshooters and repair crews to work.
- Crews wear extra layers of clothing for warmth while working in cold weather.
- All vehicles have gone through routine and preventive maintenance checks. They are gassed up and ready to respond in the event of outages.
- Safety is a top priority, for the public and power workers. They are reminded of the need to be aware of and adjust to slippery conditions on the roads and underfoot.
How customers can prepare
- Make sure OPPD has accurate contact phone number(s) for you, so we can reach you to provide outage updates, or in case we need to notify you that crews need to take an emergency outage for repair work. Please call customer care at 1-800-536-4131 to update your information if it has changed.
- Please take time to clear snow away from any electrical equipment on your property so that our crews can access them to make repairs if necessary.
- Ensure you have flashlights with extra batteries in a location that’s easy for you to find in the dark.
- Charge all cellular phones, tablets and laptops ahead of inclement weather.
- If you have a garage door opener, ensure you know how to open the door manually, ahead of time, so you can get your vehicle out.
- Download the free OPPDConnect app for easy outage reporting. Also keep OPPD’s outage reporting phone number handy, 1-800-554-OPPD (6773).
- If power does go out, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed for the duration of the outage. Food can usually keep up to at least four hours as long as those doors stay shut. Full refrigerators and freezers stay the coldest.
If you experience an outage, be sure to report it online or by calling 1-800-554-OPPD (6773).
While OPPD is always ready to respond, keep in mind that safety comes first. If whiteout conditions make it dangerous to drive, crews will wait until visibility improves to hit the road. These conditions, and snow-packed icy streets may slow their response. But they are working as quickly as safely possible to bring your lights (and furnace) back on.