By KIM POINDEXTER
Although Cherokee County emerged relatively unscathed from Tuesday night’s storms, a few area residents are still removing downed limbs and other debris from their yards.
Patsy Cordova lives at 1300 Ashley, just inside the Lake Region Electric Cooperative coverage area. Shortly after 11 p.m., a tree crashed through her electrical and satellite TV lines and landed on the windshield of her son’s Blazer.
“I talked to them at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, and they said they’d put me on list, because there were a lot of people with outages,” Cordova said. “At 6:15 a.m. Wednesday, I called back and said, ‘Do you understand the line is open and lying on the ground?’”
Cordova said that at 2 p.m. Wednesday, LREC called to ask if her power was back on. It wasn’t, but two LREC crew members were dispatched, and repairs were completed by 3:49 p.m.
“They were so helpful and polite, but before that, it was real frustrating,” she said.
Hamid Vahdatipour, LREC CEO, said Cordova’s situation was unique in Cherokee County. The initial delays in affecting repairs were due to confusion over who was responsible for the meter.
“The utility provider’s responsibility ends at the meter. Any damages to the equipment beyond the meter is the responsibility of the homeowner,” he said.
Vahdatipour said when a customer tells LREC the line between the pole and the house is damaged, the customer is asked if the meter is on the pole or on the house. If it’s on the pole, the customer is told to call an electrician to repair the damage, since the line is beyond the meter. If the meter is on the house, LREC crews respond to repair the damage. But if the meter is on the house and there is damage to equipment beyond the meter, the customer must have an electrician repair that side of the service before LREC reconnects it.
“In [this] situation, the outage call to us by the lady of the house stated that the meter was on the pole. Our dispatcher informed her that they had to have an electrician fix the problem,” Vahdatipour said. “At a later time, we received a call by the husband, stating the meter was located on the house, at which time we placed them on the queue to have the power restored.”
The LREC lineman reported that although the tree had fallen on the line and pulled it loose from the power source, the wire was not live, so there was no imminent danger.
While LREC had a few outages in Cherokee County, the most extensive damage in the coverage area was in Wagoner and Muskogee counties. Those two counties are among the 35 in the eastern part of Oklahoma for which Gov. Mary Fallin Thursday declared a state of emergency.
“Overall, we had a total 3,700 outages due to the storm. All services were restored by 3:20 Thursday morning,” Vahdatipour said. “We had 12 broken poles and numerous other pieces of equipment that were damaged by high winds and lighting.”
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