SHREVEPORT, La., Feb. 17, 2021 – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is ready to begin damage assessment and power restoration as today’s winter storm brings freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow to the Ark-La-Tex. SWEPCO anticipates significant damage to the electric system and the potential for extended power outages.
Approximately 2,700 utility line, tree and support personnel from 15 states and Canada will assist company resources with power restoration. Workers will be positioned in Shreveport, Bossier City, Natchitoches/Mansfield, Longview and Texarkana.
Ice storms can be slowly developing events with new outages occurring over many hours. We expect extremely hazardous road conditions and difficult access to damaged utility equipment.
How SWEPCO Restores Power
As soon as it is safe to do so, we will begin clearing immediate hazards, like downed power lines, and assessing damage. You may see our trucks traveling through your area and then leave. These workers are looking for damage and access for line workers and tree crews. Other crews will be dispatched to repair the power lines and facilities.
Our first priority is restoring service to hospitals, police and fire stations and other essential public health and safety facilities.
Workers begin by repairing major power lines and substations. They work to restore power to the largest numbers of customers in the shortest time. Then, they repair local lines and equipment that serve multiple customers. Finally, crews will work to restore service to individual homes and businesses.
Estimated times of restoration will be provided as soon as possible as damage assessment and repairs proceed.
The storm recovery process could be complicated if controlled outages are required again by the 14-state electric grid operator, as they were Monday and Tuesday. Emergency weather and electric system conditions continue across the region, and SWEPCO will implement its emergency plan as called upon by the Southwest Power Pool. Whether related to storms or controlled outages, we will work as safely and quickly as possible to restore power.
How to report, track outages
· Log on to SWEPCO.com to report an outage and to sign up for text and email updates, including an estimated time of restoration.
· Use the SWEPCO app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play.
· Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage.
· Visit SWEPCO.com/OutageMap to find detailed information without logging into your account.
Four Storm Prep Tips
1. 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. Check with those who are elderly or have medical conditions to ensure they have a plan in place.
2. Be sure to have an adequate supply of any medications and medical supplies, plus any supplies needed for babies and pets.
3. Charge phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
4. Prepare an emergency kit with essential items.
More information on what do to prepare for an outage may be found at SWEPCO.com/Outages.
· Assume that any downed utility line is energized. Stay away and keep children and pets away from downed lines. Report it immediately to SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919.
· Be extremely careful when using any alternate forms of heating, cooking and lighting.
· 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.
If your power goes out
· If you lose power, please turn off heating, water heating and large appliances to enable smoother service restoration. Once power is restored, switch the devices back on gradually over the following 30 to 45 minutes. Taking this step helps prevent a sudden surge in demand after power is restored, which could result in a second outage.