The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 28, 2013

Crews continue to restore power to western water wells

By James Neal, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Utility crews continue work to restore power to Enid’s western water wells, while generators provide power to the more accessible well sites.

City of Enid crews, joined by workers from Alfalfa Electric Cooperative, OG&E Electric Services and Koch Nitrogen, connected more than 40 generators Thursday to wells near Drummond and Ames.

The city’s more remote well sites near Cleo Springs and Ringwood remained without power Thursday.

Enid City Manager Eric Benson said the city is waiting on OG&E and Alfalfa Electric to repair transmission lines to those wells. He said a timeline for those repairs was not available Thursday evening.

John Little, OG&E district manager, said crews are working on restoring the transmission lines, but it’s unclear how many wells are serviced by each line.

He said repair work will continue today, “and we’ll keep going until it’s done.”

Benson said water supply was improved Thursday, thanks in large part to generators, engineers and electricians sent by Koch Nitrogen to assist in the effort.

He said Koch supplied more than 40 generators and “hundreds of man-hours” to establish temporary power at the city’s well sites near Ames and Drummond.

“They have been the finest corporate citizen I have ever been exposed to,” Benson said. “Koch Nitrogen, from day one, has not whined about the lack of water, although it is critical to them. They have been a staunch, dedicated corporate citizen.”

With the Ames and Drummond wells brought back online, Benson said “We’re still in a very tenuous situation, but we’re holding our own.”

Benson said supply capacity to the city’s east side reached 80 percent Thursday afternoon, but users on the west side still were outpacing the available supply with their consumption.

“We’ve got some heavy users on the west side, and that’s our biggest concern right now,” Benson said. “We’re slowly getting ahead, but the recharge rates aren’t where we need them to be.”

He said the city’s east reservoir had the greatest recharge rate Thursday afternoon, a fact that could enable limited restoration of industrial use today, since industrial use is supplied by the east reservoir.

Benson said industrial users have agreed to a reduced industrial supply. That could begin today if recharge rates surpass what would be used by industrial users.

“They have offered to reduce their draw,” Benson said of the city’s largest industrial users, “and we know that if we can recharge at a rate greater than what they will draw, we can turn them back on.”

Benson said he was cautiously optimistic residential use would reach normal capacity and limited industrial use could resume today.