Power outages threatens lives during winter storm

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE (KNWA/KFTA) — The power going out is an inconvenience, but for some, not having power can mean the difference between life and death.

Some people with medical conditions are concerned.

All the major energy companies have done controlled outages over the past couple days.

They say it’s to make sure there aren’t massive outages later.

But if anyone has a medical condition, energy isn’t just another luxury.

Aroura Sprague lives in Rogers with her 15-year-old brother who has type 1 diabetes. His insulin has to be refrigerated.

“He was diagnosed…three, four years ago. It’s scary to think all of it could go bad within 4, 5 hours of the power being off, ” Sprague said.

The Spragues found themselves worried when Southwestern Electric Power Company implemented rolling controlled outages Monday with more Tuesday.

Sprague says “He goes, ‘is my insulin okay?’ it’s scary.”

Carey Sullivan, a spokesperson with SWEPCO says, “You must have a plan to take care of your safety and your health.”

She says the outages are necessary to save power for the grid.

“We’re all running our homes, running our heaters, trying to keep it working, and they’re working exceptionally hard,” Sullivan says.

SWEPCO, OG&E, and Carroll Electric are all shutting off power for chunks at a time.

An Ozarks Electric spokesperson says there were no planned outages today.

Sullivan says it’s impossible to single out homes to leave the power on.

She says, “We don’t have that kind of visibility into the system right now. We’re looking at large, at circuits.”

Sprague says, “We don’t have the means to replace it because insulin’s super expensive.”

Sprague says her family is lucky they have a plan, but she worries for those who don’t. “We actually have a couple ice coolers at the ready just in case the power goes off,” she said.

Sprague says, “I understand that the rolling blackouts need to happen, but it’s kinda scary because the temps are really low.”

This afternoon, OG&E announced interruptions are paused for the rest of the day.

They use the southwest power pool just like SWEPCO.

They say people should be prepared in case they crop back up with more winter weather bearing down.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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