Campbell to investigate number of SWEPCO outages

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Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell is calling for an independent review of SWEPCO’s ability to maintain service during severe weather like Thursday’s thunderstorm, which knocked out power for 35,000 customers.

“We are having too many outages too often,” Campbell said. “I want to know what we can do to make SWEPCO’s system better able to withstand the bad weather we often have in north Louisiana.”

SWEPCO officials say as many as 35,000 customers lost power last night when a thunderstorm with winds up to 60 mph traveled through the area.

“I have supported SWEPCO’s requests for additional tree-trimming to keep the power lines free of obstructions, but I am concerned that this may not be enough to keep the lights on. At the next meeting of the Public Service Commission I am going to ask for authority to conduct a thorough investigation of SWEPCO’s ability to survive bad weather.

“Winter is right around the corner, and I am very concerned that an ice storm will cause outages for an extended period if something is not done.”

The PSC is considering a request by Campbell to require all electric utilities in Louisiana to implement an automated system that will notify customers of outages and expected restoration times. SWEPCO is at work on such a system and expects to have it in place by early in 2015.