Shreveport, La. (Oct. 9, 2020) – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is preparing base camps, staging areas and materials for its company crews and 1,100 line, tree and support personnel called in from eight states to respond to expected Hurricane Delta power outages.
Damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall are forecast for Friday night and Saturday morning in parts of Central and Northwest Louisiana, which endured the harsh impact of Hurricane Laura just six weeks ago.
“We are setting up base camps to house, feed and supply crews near Mansfield and in Leesville as we prepare for Hurricane Delta,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “An additional staging area for supplies, vehicles and food will be set up at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.”
The Mansfield and Leesville base camps each will house approximately 400 workers. Additional workers will be lodged across the Ark-La-Tex.
As soon as the storm moves through and it is safe to operate, field personnel will begin clearing downed power lines and other hazards and assessing damage.
The restoration process focuses first on essential public health and safety facilities such as hospitals and police and fire stations.
As damage assessment proceeds, 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 then individual service lines to homes and businesses.
SWEPCO urges the public to stay away from all downed lines and treat them as dangerous and energized. Stay away, keep others away and report hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919.
“Because of the possibility of extended power outages, we are asking customers who rely on uninterrupted electric service for health reasons to take action today before the storm hits tonight,” Seidel said. “All customers should take storm precautions, monitor local weather and follow guidance from state and local officials.”
Five Storm Preparation Tips
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Be extremely careful when using any alternate forms of cooling, heating, cooking and lighting.
4. 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.
5. 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.
o Workers are practicing social distancing and other measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, making the recovery effort especially challenging.
o Maintain at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and SWEPCO field personnel as we all play a crucial role in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
o Also, be careful when driving or walking in all utility crew work zones.
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.