OPPD reports progress in restoring outages; two debris drop-off sites closed

M.U.D. pausing shut-offs
A viewer sent 6 News a photo of power pole that had fallen onto a tree during the storm early...
A viewer sent 6 News a photo of power pole that had fallen onto a tree during the storm early Saturday, July 10, 2021.(Courtesy photo)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 8:07 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 4:15 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The Omaha Public Power District is reporting progress overnight with getting service restored to customers after Saturday morning’s storm. At the height of the storm, nearly 190,000 customers were without power.

In a Monday night update before 9 p.m., OPPD officials say about 28,000 customers are still without power. They have a goal to be 99% restored by midnight on Tuesday.

As of 2:15 p.m. Monday, 25,843 customers in Douglas County and 4,717 in Sarpy County still were without power.

Earlier on Monday, OPPD was urging the public not to approach utility crews as they continue to work on restoring power in various parts of the Omaha-metro.

OPPD CEO Javier Fernandez said in an update Monday afternoon that the utility hasn’t really dealt with an outage of this size before.

“It’s been an extremely busy and intense 72 hours,” he said during the 4 p.m. news conference.

Fernandez said that all OPPD crews have been out for three days — 700 people working nonstop — and outside help from other groups are assisting. He said 30 more tree-trimming crews — about 100 people — were expected to arrive Monday.

“We’ve never had this many people out restoring power because we’ve never really had this many customers without power at the same time,” he said.

The storm, with its widespread intensity, was unique in that no specific neighborhood was hurting more than others. OPPD did prioritize hospitals and other sorts of critical infrastructure, but officials said crews did not prioritize certain areas of town over others. Rather, Fernandez said, they prioritized areas where they could bring the most number of customers back online in the shortest amount of time.

Crews are seeing far more electrical damage — and more complex — than they have in other storms, he said. Some 21,000 customers had been notified that they would be subject to extended outages, he said, and about 2,000 have significant damage that may take even longer to get fixed.

Fernandez said that OPPD has been working with city partners to offer customers the names of electricians to expedite repairs.

ELSEWHERE IN NEBRASKA: Officials from NPPD said in an 8 p.m. update that say the restoration in Plattsmouth was completed earlier today. They also mention that they will send assistance to OPPD Tuesday morning.

Watch the full OPPD update

M.U.D. pausing shutoffs

As thousands of Omaha homeowners are without power from the weekend storm, M.U.D. is giving customers a break behind on their bills.

M.U.D. says they’re suspending disconnections for nonpayment for two weeks. That’s effective today through July 26.

They say the health and safety of customers are a top priority.

Debris drop-off

Two of the city’s six drop-off sites — 156th and F streets, and Towl Park at 93rd and Center — closed at 2 p.m. Monday.

The four remaining sites — Ta-Ha-Zouka Park, Levi Carter Park, Al Veys Field, and Hefflinger Park — will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, according to the office of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

The office emphasized in a news release that, for curbside pickup of storm debris, residents should “completely fill the garbage carts with garbage before you set anything out on the curb.”

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