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Energy companies prepare for icy conditions in the TX and OK Panhandles

Energy companies say ice is the biggest concern for power outages. (ABC 7 Amarillo)

As much needed precipitation makes it's way across the area this weekend, local energy companies are hoping potential ice doesn't stick around on power lines and poles.

"Ice is the worst," Tri-County Electric Cooperative Vice President of Member Solutions Chris Purdy said. "If we have cold temperatures and snow, we're great with that. When we start talking about temperatures that could stay right at freezing and a little bit below, and we get a lot of moisture, ice builds up."

Purdy said when that ice builds up, it weighs down on lines and trees. When you add in the Panhandle wind, lines are often pulled down or poles snap. TCEC has been preparing for this weekend's weather since Monday.

"We have our trucks and our crews ready and on standby," Purdy said. "We're making sure they are filled with fuel, have all the equipment loaded on the trucks and all the bins are full, having that ready to go, even thinking about how we are going to feed our crews and how we are going to keep them going."

Xcel Energy is also monitoring conditions to determine where to concentrate crews and supplies.

"What that mainly does for us is we don't have to lose travel time," Xcel Spokesperson Wes Reeves said. "If something happens say in Pampa over the weekend and we already have extra crews there, they can get right to work and try to get the power back up as quickly as possible."

Reeves said outages happen in different ways, with some taking longer to repair.

"We remind customers, you need to think ahead," Reeves said. "If you have a sick person in your home, an elderly person, if you have small children, be thinking about 'where can I go'."

If you don't have a place to go, emergency officials say to have what you need to make it through an outage.

"Be prepared before that happens," Amarillo Emergency Management Coordinator Chip Orton said. "Go to the store. Get your food. Fill up your vehicles with gas. Make sure you have what you need at home, so you don't have to go out. If you have to go out, you want to make sure you have in your car the appropriate clothing or blankets if you get stranded or something happens, if you get into an accident."

Orton advises having important numbers for your energy company or emergency officials in your town. Both companies urge customers to report outages to aid in determining causes and resolving the issues.

To report an outage to Xcel Energy, call 1-800-895-1999 or report it online by clicking HERE.

To report an outage to Tri-County Electric Cooperative, call 580-652-2418 or report it online by clicking HERE.

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