Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) continues to add crews, equipment and materials to its recovery effort in the Central Louisiana areas damaged most heavily by Hurricane Laura.
“Extensive flooding, heavy tree damage, difficult access and many other challenges make power restoration in Hornbeck, Natchitoches and the many surrounding communities especially challenging,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “Based on additional damage assessment and what our crews are seeing in the repair work they have already completed, we are extending the estimated time of restoration for the Hornbeck area to 10 p.m. Sunday. Many customers will be back on before then, but we want customers to be prepared for the possibility of a longer outage.”
SWEPCO has restored power to 13 of the 20 substations knocked out by the hurricane. “We are making good progress on the remaining seven stations, which include several points where we are connected to the Entergy and Cleco systems,” Seidel said. “We’re aware of some public concern that this may delay their power restoration, but we are rebuilding our system and working closely with Entergy and Cleco to get as many customers restored as quickly as possible. Other than Hornbeck, we have not changed our estimated times of restoration.”
As work has wrapped up in Northwest Louisiana, crews are moving to join those already deployed in Central Louisiana. An additional base camp has opened in Natchitoches to support operations in Hornbeck and Natchitoches.
As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, about 29,000 customers in Central Louisiana remained without power, along with 400 in the Shreveport-Bossier area.
SWEPCO’s workforce has restored power to more than 106,000 customers, or about 78% of the 136,000 customers who lost power in the wake of Hurricane Laura.
Estimated Times of Restoration
Power will be restored to 95% of customers in cities and surrounding areas before the estimates below. Your power may be restored sooner.
· Shreveport – 10 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 1
· Mansfield – 10 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1
· Natchitoches – 10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3
· Hornbeck – 10 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 6
Customers without power who are on life support systems or need uninterrupted electric service for health reasons should make alternate arrangements.
Louisiana residents can call 211 to find cooling centers and other assistance.
· Workers are practicing social distancing and other measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, making the recovery effort especially challenging.
· Maintain at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and SWEPCO field personnel as we all play a crucial role in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
· Also, be careful when driving or walking in all utility crew work zones.
· Downed power lines – Never touch a downed utility wire, no matter how harmless it looks. It can be difficult to distinguish between a power line and a cable or telephone line. All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. And don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard. Call SWEPCO to report any downed lines or equipment.
· Portable generators – If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
When to Call an Electrician
· SWEPCO cannot connect power to a home or business if there is damage to the service entrance, which is owned by the customer.
· Customers need to have a qualified electrician repair this damage before power can be restored. The service entrance includes the metal box housing SWEPCO’s meter, the “weatherhead” pipe on top of the meter box, the service entrance cables running from the weatherhead through the meter box to the inside panel box, and other related facilities. Similar responsibilities apply to underground service.
· After repairs are made, contact SWEPCO to have power restored.