By: Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO President & COO
We at SWEPCO hope you and your family are safe after the devastation caused by Hurricane Laura, one of the most powerful storms to hit this area. At the storm’s peak, approximately 136,000 SWEPCO customers in Louisiana and East Texas were without power. Just six weeks later, Hurricane Delta followed a similar path, leaving about 23,000 customers without power.
We understand it is never easy to be without electricity, especially for an extended period after severe storms like Hurricane Laura. That is why our crews worked tirelessly to restore power and addressed hazards like downed power lines as soon as it was safe to do so. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, workers made sure to practice social distancing and other measures to prevent the virus’s spread – making this hurricane recovery effort especially challenging.
We implemented the lessons we learned during Hurricane Laura to shorten outages after Hurricane Delta.
Our rapid response to both storms would not have been possible without the efforts of the hundreds of dedicated SWEPCO employees who spent days getting the lights back on. Also, many other AEP crews from around the country came to our aid twice to help repair our electrical grid. We are thankful to have the following wonderful partners help with cleanup and restoration during this challenging time:
- AEP Ohio
- Appalachian Power
- Kentucky Power
- Indiana Michigan Power
- Public Service Company of Oklahoma
- AEP Texas
As these crews worked grueling hours in the heat and humidity, many received kindness and compassion from residents and businesses. Despite all the destruction, Louisianans showed our out-of-state partners the meaning of true Southern hospitality. We will be forever grateful for the countless dinners, cold drinks, and accommodations our customers provided to workers out in the field. It makes us proud to be part of such a caring community.
Although hurricane season isn’t over yet, we hope that we are past the worst of it. Regardless of the weather conditions we face, I hope you can take comfort in knowing SWEPCO stands ready to do all that it can to keep the power on so that you and your family aren’t left in the dark.