Shreveport, La. (Aug. 26, 2020) – Nearly 2,300 workers from 14 states and Canada will join more than 400 Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) employees to restore power in the wake of Hurricane Laura.
“Hurricane Laura has the potential to damage the power grid extensively,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “We will work as safely and as quickly as possible to get the lights back on. However, we expect it will take multiple days for power to be restored.”
Customers should be prepared for the storm and make arrangements in case of extended power outages.
The storm is predicted to make landfall on the Louisiana/Texas border tonight as a Category 4 hurricane. Heavy rains, high winds and possible tornadoes are expected in the Ark-La-Tex.
Incoming workers will operate from staging areas in Shreveport-Bossier and Hornbeck, Louisiana, and Longview, Texas.
How SWEPCO Restores Power
“As soon as the storm passes, we’ll start clearing immediate hazards, such as downed power lines, and begin assessing damage,” Seidel said. “This will help us efficiently tackle the recovery effort.”
Priority is given to essential public health and safety facilities such as hospitals and police and fire stations. Then, 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 individual service lines to homes and businesses.
Sometimes a utility crew will drive through a neighborhood, patrolling for damage and access for line workers. Customers may see a truck stop briefly and then leave; this crew is assessing damage. Additional crews will be dispatched to restore power.
Five Storm Preparation Tips
- 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.
- 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.
- Be extremely careful when using any alternate forms of cooling, heating, cooking and lighting.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)
SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (AEP: NYSE) company, serves more than 543,000 customers in northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle, and western Arkansas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at SWEPCO.com. Connect with us at Facebook.com/SWEPCO, Twitter.com/SWEPCOnews, Instagram.com/swepco, Youtube.com/SWEPCOtv, LinkedIn.com/company/swepco and SWEPCOConnections.com.