Power Officials Keying on Ice, Heavy Winds with Approaching Storm

COLUMBUS – Power officials say they are keying on ice and heavy winds, and are telling residents to prepare for potential power outages.

The heavier snowfall has shifted to the eastern portion of the state, hitting areas like Fremont, Omaha, Lincoln, and Beatrice the hardest. Areas like Columbus and Nebraska City are on the edge of the heavier snow fall, but power officials say the ice and winds are the biggest concern.

Cornhusker PPD General Manager/CEO Clay Gibbs says if any residents power is knocked out, they ask them to turn the breakers off around the house, while crews work on restoring, or fixing, the issue.

“You know we’re always ready to go, pretty much 24/7 with our on-call staff but were pretty much tracking the weather, trying to keep up to date with what the National Weather Service is forecasting. And  we have our memberships, NREA [Nebraska Rural Electric Association] for example. 34 [power] systems throughout the state, so they tend to share information if they are starting to see adverse weather impact them,” says Gibbs.

Loup PPD President/CEO Neal Suess says residents in all location should prepare for the worst case scenario that a power outage will take place. Suess says the recent talks of flash freezing taking place, is where residents could see issues, if water freezes over on the power lines.

“It creates a much heavier situation. If you add the addition of wind, it creates some galloping conditions, which creates more of a problem from an outage stand point. We’re a little concerned about that, but really nothing we can do until it does happen. So hopefully the rain stays away, we just have a snow event, and that would be generally fairly manageable,” says Suess.

Nebraska PPD Media Relations Mark Becker echoed the thoughts, concerning ice and wind, and says if a line does go down, or is knocked out, residents should let professional crews be the only ones to attempt to fix it.

“If a line is down on the ground, we encourage people not to attempt to move them. That is something our trained professional lineman are trained and know how to do, and second of all, just be prepared for power to possibly go out. Our crews will work as quickly as they can to get the power back on.

Cornhusker and Loup have two crews in Columbus in addition to crews in Albion and Fullerton that can respond to outages, while NPPD has crews stationed throughout the state.

If you have a power outage through one of the companies, you are encouraged to immediately call one of the numbers below. If you are unsure who your power provider is, the various power companies said they will work together to make sure you are able the alert the proper emergency crews.

Cornhusker PPD: 402-564-2821 or 1-800-955-2773

Loup PPD: 402-564-3171

NPPD: 877-ASK-NPPD (275-6773)

All companies are planning to stay in contact with local media outlets, regarding any power outages that take place throughout the course of the week.