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SWEPCO Crews Working 16 Hours A Day To Restore Power To Customers

SWEPCO, Southwestern Electric Power Company, crews continue to make progress in the ongoing effort to rebuild SWEPCO’s energy delivery system.

As of 3 p.m. Monday, June 19, SWEPCO has restored service to approximately 138,000 customers impacted by the severe weather that moved through the region on Friday; an estimated 112,000 remain without power.

As a result of the severe weather event, Public Service Commissioners joined with community leaders and SWEPCO to provide an update on the extent of damage and the progress made. On Monday, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and SWEPCO hosted a press conference to share updates on storm restoration work. Mayors of Shreveport and Bossier were on hand to provide additional perspective. In addition, a Texas delegation comprised of Public Utility of Texas and Texas Division of Emergency Management leaders joined SWEPCO so they could better understand the restoration process, the overall timeline and see the damage sustained during the storm.

Texas leaders, including State Senator Bryan Hughes, State Representative Jay Dean, TDEM Chief Nim Kidd, PUCT Interim Chair Kathleen Jackson and local community officials, were part of the delegation touring the hardest hit areas and discussing storm restoration efforts. The delegation also held meetings with Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative teams in Gilmer.

“This is the worst transmission impacted storm I’ve ever seen in my career, and it’s the worst one we’ve had at SWEPCO,” said SWEPCO President and COO Brett Mattison.

Friday’s storm caused major damage to SWEPCO’s transmission system, which delivers high-voltage power over long distances from power plants to substations, where the power is converted to voltages appropriate for use in homes and businesses. SWEPCO’s utility poles and distribution wires serving individual homes and businesses also experienced extensive damage.

Over 50 transmission lines were forced out of service due to tree and structure damage caused by the extreme weather, half of which have been restored to service. In addition, nearly 60 Transmission and Distribution substations were impacted.

“Without the transmission up, you can’t get power to those homes and businesses, so we’ve been working diligently to get the transmission system back up,” Mattison said.

A workforce of more than 3,000 utility professionals are working 16 hours a day to restore service to customers who remain without power. They are making a lot of traction with the transmission repairs and have about 70 percent of the transmission system back up and running.

“We won’t stop until that last light is on,” Mattison said.

Since Friday, work continued to complete damage assessments. By leveraging both on ground and aerial assessments, the entire transmission system that spanned nearly 700 miles of transmission lines was completed. Teams continue prioritizing stabilizing the system and putting efforts on transmission lines impacting customer stations. Damage to transmission lines can result in significant outages. SWEPCO’s utility poles and distribution wires serving individual homes and businesses also experienced extensive damage. Crews continue to assess and have reported nearly 300 utility poles taken out of service and more than 114 transformers are scheduled to be replaced.

Author: Ethan Klein

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