Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) urges customers to prepare for the possibility of multi-day power outages in the wake of Hurricane Delta.
Widespread, damaging wind gusts and heavy rains are forecast for Friday and Saturday in parts of Central and Northwest Louisiana and East Texas – the same areas battered by Hurricane Laura in August.
“If Hurricane Delta makes landfall with storm strength as predicted, it may take several days for electric service to be restored,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “If you or a family member relies on uninterrupted electric service for health reasons, make a plan now in case there are extended outages.”
SWEPCO has called in 1,100 line, tree and support personnel from eight states to respond to outages. The company is preparing to set up two base camps in Central Louisiana to house approximately 800 workers. Additional workers will be lodged across the Ark-La-Tex.
“We’re implementing the lessons the SWEPCO Team learned from Hurricane Laura to ensure we restore power safely and quickly,” Seidel said.
How SWEPCO Restores Power
Immediately after the storm, field personnel will begin clearing downed power lines and other hazards and assessing damage. Report hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919. Treat all downed lines as dangerous and energized.
“Our first priority remains restoring power to essential public health and safety facilities such as hospitals and police and fire stations,” Seidel said.
As damage assessment proceeds, workers will repair major power lines that restore power to the largest number of customers in the shortest time. Crews will fix power lines and equipment that serve multiple customers, and then individual service lines to homes and businesses.
“You may see a truck stop briefly and then leave; this crew is usually assessing damage,” Seidel said. “Once damage is assessed, other crews will be dispatched to restore power. We appreciate your patience throughout this process.”
Five Storm Preparation Tips
1. All power lines should be considered energized and dangerous. Although a downed line may look harmless, it could be carrying electricity. Don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences, or water puddles. Stay away and keep children and pets away from downed lines. Report downed lines immediately to SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919.
2. If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators can “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.
3. Be extremely careful when using any alternate forms of cooling, heating, cooking and lighting.
4. During an outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep cold air inside. Check out sources of ice or dry ice, if needed. Food should stay frozen for 36 to 48 hours in a fully loaded freezer, 24 hours in a half-full freezer – if you keep the door closed.
5. Customers who are on life support systems or need uninterrupted electric service for health reasons should make alternate arrangements in preparation for potential power outages.
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.
More information on what do to prepare for an outage may be found at SWEPCO.com/Outages.
Reporting and Tracking Outages
Use the SWEPCO app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play.
Log on to SWEPCO.com to report an outage and sign up for text and email updates, including an estimated time of restoration.
Visit SWEPCO.com/OutageMap to find detailed information without logging into your account
Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage. During and immediately after the storm, customers are asked to call the Customer Solution Center only to report downed power lines and other situations that could pose a safety threat.