The Duncan Banner

November 7, 2013

City Council discusses electric needs, improvements

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Members of the Duncan City Council remember 2010’s ice storm well.

In that storm, Duncan Power customers (along with much of Stephens County’s residents) lost electricity for days. Ice on power lines caused power lines and poles to fail throughout the community.

On Tuesday, the city council held a special meeting with Jim McAvoy, chief engineer for the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA), and Duncan Power Director David Yeager to discuss possible upcoming electric upgrades to repair remaining damage from the ice storm and to help prevent a similar situation in the future.

“Our system is old, but it’s well maintained,” City Manager Jim Frieda said. “At some point, we’ll have to take it into account.”

For OMPA’s portion of the meeting, McAvoy talked about things being done outside of Duncan Power to ensure better electric service. Among those items was the construction of a new substation near Cornville, which begins a long series electric lines, leading through Rush Springs down to Duncan.

This substation should be constructed by 2017, and the Power Service of Oklahoma (PSO), who will be building the new substation, already has funding to make this new substation a reality.

McAvoy said there are also discussions to sectionalize the power grids between Cornville and Rush Springs to reduce the number of customers impacted by a downed power line. He said sectionalizing would be determined by the load of a power line and the number of outages on the line.

“It could be an improvement in reliability,” McAvoy said. “Sectionalizing switches are just discussions right now. They don’t have the funding right now. The one at Cornville will happen. They have the funding for that.”

Yeager said the Cornville substation would provide some improvements to the Duncan area, although there are still problems within the city that need to be addressed.

“Improvements are coming through the new Cornville substation, whether we spend any more on the line,” Yeager said. “Things will get better.”

Among the electric concerns within the City of Duncan were leaning and damaged power poles.

“It makes them susceptible to galloping,” Yeager said. “It could make the poles fail.”

Frieda said some of the projects needing to be done in the city will be costly, but they’re projects he feels will move Duncan in a more positive direction, a direction with more reliability in its electric service.

Mayor Gene Brown said it might be better to spend money while the problems aren’t hindering day-to-day operations, instead of reacting to crippling issues.

“We know things are tight,” Brown said. “But we’ve got to spend some money to keep our system working.”