Helping Business Weather the Storm

WDT's Utility Partners Prepare for Upcoming Winter Storm

by Daphne Thompson, on Jan 12, 2017 2:51:22 PM

WDT's utility partners are currently preparing for an upcoming winter storm. It goes without saying, for utilities, the winter season is quite often the most punishing of the year. Ice and other frozen precipitation associated with these long, cold months continue to rank among lightning and strong winds as the most damaging to utility infrastructure.

With the threat of a significant freezing rain event in the Central and Southern Plains, the time is quickly approaching when it will be too late to test the strength and effectiveness of your preparedness initiatives and also incident management and response infrastructure.

Winter Storm in Central Plains - January 13, 2017

Take WDT customer OG&E, for example, who regularly conducts full-scale simulations of what would be considered particularly destructive ice storms across its service territory. In what takes several weeks of planning, through the collaboration and participation of many employees, the incident command team at Oklahoma’s largest utility designs and utilizes drills to identify the state of readiness across the organization.

“Ice storms have a significant impact on the OG&E infrastructure,” says Mike Douglas, OG&E’s ICS & Emergency Preparedness Manager. “OG&E has worked to improve system reliability by hardening our system. However, ice and wind can have a catastrophic impact on the infrastructure.”

Winter Weather Warning for Jan 13, 2017

This is where incorporating drills and double-checking operational procedures can mean the difference between hours, days, or weeks of outages, and it goes without saying having the ability to easily access accurate and timely weather forecasts specific to your service territory is of utmost importance. 

"We can’t control the amount of ice that we receive or where it will impact our system", Douglas states. "However, our relationship with WDT has provided the opportunity for OG&E to make better, more informed decisions about what to expect from each event and the types of resources needed to restore power to our customers."

When a winter storm is on the way, OG&E leverages its relationship with WDT’s WeatherOps forecast team to provide targeted forecast graphics and live consultations during the event. Their goal is to mobilize to the appropriate locations ahead of the storm and be ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible.  

Ice Storm Forecast - January 13, 2017

With ice in the forecast for the Central and Southern Plains, customers will soon be feeling the effects from the upcoming storm. So, whether you are an IOU with 800,000 customers such as OG&E, or a local co-op with 10,000, preparing in advance for the damaging effects of winter storms is a definite necessity.

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