The power outage communication procedure was presented to the Overton Power District No. 5 board of trustees at their regular meeting held on June 15 at the district’s Overton office. The procedure, created by a committee comprised of district employees, outlines the flow of information and the responsibility of each department in the event of a power outage.

Power outages were classified in three levels based on the time of the day, size and type of the outage. Level one is a power outage affecting 1 – 10 customers, level two is a power outage affecting 11 customers or more and/or an outage affecting one large customer (Load of 1 MW or higher), and Level 3 is a power outage that includes: a system wide power outage, or a power outage affecting a substation and/or the transmission 138 KV line; each level has its own communication protocol. Any outage that involves the injury or death of a human being will be immediately elevated to a Level 3.

MeLisa Garcia, a member of the committee that created the power outage communications procedure, stated in her presentation to the board “the goals for this procedure are: to reduce the number of calls line crews, foreman and lead linemen receive during a power outage, keep our management informed and provide the public with outage and restoration information”.

During an outage the district’s priorities are: to restore the power safely and in a timely manner, to provide the public with outage feedback and estimated times of restoration, and to contact “Priority Service Customers.” A “Priority Service Customer” is any customer who has made a written request to the district to receive direct communication during an outage due to a medical condition. Judy Metz, a board trustee stressed, “if people do have medical conditions, such as the need of oxygen, they need to contact the power company to insure they are on the Priority Service Customer contact list.”

Customers can access information in the event of a power outage on the district’s website, Facebook page, Twitter or by calling our local offices. Depending on the level and duration of the outage, the district has the capability to send mass notifications via text or email, and voice alerts to landlines. Keith Buchhalter, the district’s Public Affairs Specialist clarified “mass notifications are an opt-in service. If customers would like to be included, they need to contact our offices and authorize us to add the alerts and reminders feature.”

If you or a family member in your household needs to be directly notified in the event of a power outage due to a medical condition, please contact Overton Power District No. 5 in writing in order to be added to the Priority Service Customer call list.