Paris EOC took in 300 calls for downed trees and power lines, police chief says

Oncor officials said Saturday they have brought in repair crews from other areas to help get power restored as quickly as possible. (eParisExtra photo)

Oncor officials said Saturday they have brought in repair crews from other areas to help get power restored as quickly as possible. (eParisExtra photo)

Paris police officers answered almost 200 calls for service on Friday, resulting in five arrests, Police Chief Bob Hundley said.

Also, 45 EMS calls and 135 Paris Fire and Rescue calls were handled by dispatchers at the Paris Police Department, the chief said.

“The public works desk in the Emergency Operations Center took in another estimated 300 calls for tree limbs and power lines down,” Hundley said. “We had seven accidents, three of which involved injuries.”

Roads are in decent shape, but any accumulation of moisture from Friday “is certainly frozen this morning,” Hundley said.

Meanwhile, Oncor issued a news release from its Dallas office on Saturday saying nearly all Oncor customers will have power restored by late Sunday night.

The company said it increased its workforce by nearly 50 percent by bringing in about 1,200 more contractors and employees from other utilities to assist in repairs.

As of Saturday morning, Oncor workers had restored power to 140,000 customers, a company official said. Crews reduced outages from a peak of 270,000 to about 130,000.

“This progress was made despite the fact that the storm didn’t move out of the area until mid-afternoon Friday and weather slowed restoration personnel from beginning their work in some areas until early evening,” Oncor chief operating officer Jim Greer said.

In addition, icy conditions and dangerous roads significantly slowed the crews’ progress.

“We know this is a very difficult time to be without power and we appreciate customers’ patience as we work to restore their service,” Greer said.

“We continue to call on additional resources to assist with restoring power around the clock until everyone is restored, and this winter emergency is over. Our employees and personnel from across Texas and out of state are committed to restoring power to those customers as quickly as possible, which is why we believe nearly all customers can be restored by Sunday night.”

The only customers who may not be restored are those whose equipment on their homes was damaged or those in rural areas, he said.

Improved weather forecasts also helped set Sunday as the likely completion date for most Oncor customers.

With the addition of the 1,200 out-of-area workers, Oncor will have more than 3,700 employees, contractors and workers from other utilities completing repairs.

“Safety continues to be our number one priority. It’s important that people always assume that any downed power line is energized and dangerous. Customers should keep their families and pets away and immediately call 911if they see a downed power line,” Greer said.

Customers without power are asked to:

  • notify Oncor’s 24-hour outage hotline at 888.313.4747,
  • text OUT to 66267, or
  • report outages to http://stormcenter.oncor.com.

“If you see a downed power line, call 911 immediately. Stay away from downed power lines and any tree limbs that might be touching them,” Greer said.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

Print Friendly

About the Author
Author

Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.