City of Tonkawa Issues Status Update

Mike Seals - October 29, 2020 9:22 pm

Advisory: Tree Limbs can be taken to Roll-Off, south of town, on 10/30 OR put at curb for pick-up. Click Link for more info.



The City of Tonkawa lost power between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 10/27/2020. Since that time, Tonkawa Municipal Utility Crews have been working around the clock to remedy the situation and restore power to the city and its citizens.

The freezing temperatures and ice caused trees and poles to snap under the weight & conditions. The onslaught of falling tree branches, limbs, and debris have made the power restoration process immensely more difficult. Many area Oklahoma municipalities and towns (such as Blackwell, Newkirk, Ponca City, Perry, Enid, Billings, etc.) were hit with the same ice storm and power outages as Tonkawa.

The Oklahoma City Metro areas lost in excess of 150,000 customers before our power ever went off. Thus, mutual aid workers and resources were scarce. In less than 48-Hours, crews have been able to diagnose problem areas, discard broken or damaged electrical lines, remove trees and debris from power lines, and restore services to approximately 50% of the city.

It has been reported that most of the remaining power outages will be restored today or tomorrow. Areas of priority (i.e. The Water Wells, Nursing Home, etc.) have been restored. Tonkawa City Mayor Kenneth Smith and Director of Emergency Services Justin Kienzle have issued an Ice Storm 2020 Local State of Emergency Proclamation (No. 2017-05), effective for 30-Days unless confirmed and ratified by the governing body of the City of Tonkawa. The State of Oklahoma or the Federal Government (FEMA) has not declared an official State of Emergency, at the time of this post.


Tonkawa City Crews continue to restore as much power & services as they can; as fast as they can. This process is starting to happen more quickly now that they have the primaries back open. Crews are moving through, tracing lines, removing limbs from lines, and restoring areas one block at a time.

Power will continue to be restored in various areas throughout town. Although it would be unlikely, power may be restored and then lost, again, for short periods in areas as crews fix issues. If you see your neighbors with power, and the power of your residence/business has not been restored; you can contact the Tonkawa City Offices during business hours at: (580) 628-2508.

After business hours, please contact the Tonkawa Police Department Non-Emergency Line at: (580) 628-2516. There may be an issue with your power lines and crews can address it, after it is reported. Before you call to report a possible issue, please check your electric meter box, your weatherhead (service head), and the electrical lines to your residence/business.

If these appear to be in working order, contact the City. If there are any problems or damages to these items, as a result of the storm, please contact a licensed electrician to address the problems as our crews are not equipped to handle this problem.


Some residents will observe damage to your property’s weatherhead (service head) or electric meter box as a result of falling branches or debris. We have had reports ranging from broken lines to weatherheads or meter boxes ripped from the house, as a result of the storm.

Unfortunately, City Crews cannot repair these issues as they are not equipped or permitted to do so. Residents, with problems such as these, will have to contact a licensed electrician to repair these issues before City Crews can restore power. Problems with electric meter boxes will only be addressed after work from a licensed electrician has been conducted.

TIP: It is always good to make sure the electrician, you choose, is properly licensed, bonded, and can provide itemized estimates- upfront.

In efforts to speed the restoration process to our citizens, the City of Tonkawa is suspending all electrical work permits, to repair these mentioned issues, as long as the electricians are licensed in the City of Tonkawa. Many residents have reported downed power lines and are worried that the lines will become live when crews energize the lines. Most of these downed lines are no longer connected and have been traced and inspected by City Crews.

However, downed electric lines should always be approached with caution and treated as if they are active. We still urge citizens to report any downed lines they feel are an issue. As always, never touch or cross a downed power line until it is confirmed safe.


Tonkawa City Administration and Tonkawa Emergency Management have diligently been working with waste removal services, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and our own City Crews to devise a plan for tree limbs & debris removal. It is understandable that the “clean-up” process will take weeks as this will be a massive undertaking. However, there will be two methods of tree & debris removal for citizens, affected by this storm. The current tree limbs & debris removal plan options are as follows:

• Citizens may gather all of the fallen tree limbs & debris, upon their property, and stage them at their curb (on their property and NOT in the roadway). City Crews and/or removal services will collect and remove them sometime in the weeks to come – at no cost to the resident.
• Citizens may gather all of the fallen tree limbs & debris, upon their property, and transport them to the City Roll-Off. The City Roll-Off is located south of town by the Animal Control Center/Pound. Dumpsters will be on hand to use. Tree Limbs & debris may be discarded in these dumpsters. NO TRASH WILL BE ALLOWED, in these dumpsters, during this time. ALL TRASH DUMPING, at the City Roll-Off, will be suspended until further notice. All dumpsters will be used for tree limbs ONLY. The Roll-Off site will be monitored by personnel and have video surveillance. Violators who dump any trash, garbage, or misuse this arrangement could face prosecution and/or fines. The dumpsters will be removed and restocked, periodically, when needed. Citizens will be able to deliver limbs starting Friday, October 30, 2020.

TIP: Always trust a reputable service to do this work if you plan to hire for limb removal services. If you intend to transport limbs, yourself, always secure your load as limbs may shift and fall onto the roadway during transit. Limbs, in transit, are the responsibility of the transporter and must ensure that they don’t fall on the roadway. If limbs fall upon the roadway, during transit, the transporter must recover them.

For more information on these limb removal options, you can contact the Tonkawa City Offices.
First Responder and Emergency services are still available. Tonkawa Police & Fire/EMS are still patrolling, responding to calls, and operational. Please use E911 services for emergencies ONLY. All other issues can be handled by the non-emergency line: (580) 628-2516.

We understand that these are difficult and uncomfortable times. Our crews are doing their best to restore services and assist with limb removal as much as possible. We would like to thank those who have donated warm meals & drinks to the workers. We appreciate your support and patience more than you know!


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