Local officials hold Friday afternoon press conference providing updates on Hurricane Laura recovery efforts

1153

Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune

Representatives from SWEPCO, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and local leaders gave an update on recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura that moved through the Ark-La-Tex on Thursday. Hurricane Laura caused extensive damage to our region and left approximately 100,000 SWEPCO customers across the Ark-La-Tex without power. Laura moved through the majority of the Ark-La-Tex region as a Category 1 hurricane.

“Right now, approximately 100,000 SWEPCO customers in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas are without power. About 98,000 are without power in Louisiana. In Shreveport-Bossier, we have about 58,000 without power currently. We have put out estimated times of restoration. We’ve updated these from last night. For Shreveport, 9 p.m. Wednesday. For Haughton, 10 p.m. Tuesday. For Vivian and Plain Dealing, 5 p.m. Sunday. For Bossier City, 10 p.m. Tuesday. These are best estimates. We could see them change. We’ve seen them change from last night to today,” said Michael Corbin, External Affairs Manager at AEP SWEPCO.

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell says he understands the severity of the damage the storm caused in Northwest Louisiana and he is doing everything he can in working with the impacted utility companies to help bring relief to our area.

“We’ve never seen a storm like this. I’ve never heard of one like this. A lot of people are out of water. A lot of farmers are in trouble. A lot of cattle that can’t be watered. It’s 90 degrees today. It might be 95 degrees tomorrow. It’s very dangerous for older people. We are aware of that. So, I am doing everything possible I can to work with these companies and urging these companies day and night,” said Campbell.

Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker spoke about the biggest problems Bossier City has faced since Hurricane Laura came through our area.

“We were very fortunate within the city. The biggest problem we have had is power outages that affected our lift stations, water treatment plants and our traffic signals. I’d like to ask that our citizens don’t go out looking. Stay out of the area. We still have power lines down and trees. Please stay home until it is safe,” said Mayor Walker.

SWEPCO President and Chief Operating Officer Malcolm Smoak stated that with the additional workers SWEPCO called in, he believes power will be restored to customers quicker than expected.

“This is a time that concerns us a lot because we know it’s hot out there. And, we want to get the power restored as quick as we can. We have called in almost 3,000 additional workers to help restore power. And, we believe we will be able to make great progress in having power restored very quickly.  If you are someone who has a generator, be aware there are dangers with that generator. It needs to be ventilated correctly,” said Smoak.

Photos By: Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune