After first round of rolling blackouts, OG&E warns more could be on the way with second winter storm

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Monday, OG&E announced 20,000 Oklahomans had their power turned off to help restore electricity levels across the region. After a few hours, the grid operator, Southern Power Pool (SPP), announced all rolling outages would be paused for now. 

However, with treacherous temperatures continuing, SPP confirms the grid is on overload. OG&E tells KFOR if it’s forced to start rolling blackouts again, there will be zero warning when your power could be cut. 

“They are going to do it for us,” Max McCulley, a 64-year-old Oklahoma City man who relies on oxygen, said. “They are going to turn our damn power off?”

McCulley tells KFOR he’s terrified of losing power because for him, it’s life or death. 

“If the power goes out,” McCulley said. “My tank goes off within 30 seconds.”

On Monday morning, SPP announced entered Level 3 on its alert system and utilities were on tight supply. A few hours later, SPP revealed the reserves were restored. 

“Even if we can’t avoid another round service interruptions, we can at least limit them,” OG&E spokesperson David Kimmel said. 

OG&E spokesperson, David Kimmel, calls the electricity use this week a balancing act across the state. 

“It will be a little bit from across different areas in our territory,” Kimmel said. 

SPP announced in a press conference Monday afternoon that while rolling blackouts are halted right now, we could dip back into Level 3 by Tuesday morning. 

“We could be in and out of this situation between now and Thursday,” COO of SPP Lanny Nickell said. 

Governor Kevin Stitt and several state officials also called a press conference Monday evening asking Oklahomans to conserve energy inside their homes. 

To conserve electricity, Oklahomans are encouraged to avoid using major household electric appliances and turn off non-essential electric items.

Businesses are asked to minimize the use of these items as much as possible too and consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production.

One thing everyone can do is turn your thermostat down to 68 degrees.

However, Max is left wondering, will his power be next? 

“Now I am panicking on how to get ready for this,” McCulley said. “What can I do now?”

KFOR asked OG&E’s spokesman David Kimmel about Oklahomans who are dependent on oxygen. Those customers are terrified about the implications of rolling blackouts.

Kimmel is now telling KFOR that it will be up to customers to prepare for any potential blackout.

“Unfortunately, we just can’t do anything. We can’t isolate our outages to prevent those from impacting people who are, you know, certain homes on a circuit. So those folks who have the oxygen, they need to be prepared with extra tanks or a backup power supply for their machines. There’s just not a whole lot we can do in a situation like this when we have to move so quickly. The fortunate thing is these outages are controlled and they don’t last for more than an hour to an hour-and-a-half, so hopefully we get the power back up very quickly,” Kimmel said.

EMSA officials say if you rely on medical equipment that needs electricity, you should call your medical provider to come up with a plan if a blackout affects your area.

Also, if you are in an emergency situation, call 911.

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