Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Ida, especially in Central Louisiana.
“We urge customers to complete their storm preparation plans today for possible tropical storm-force winds and power outages early Monday,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Distribution Region Operations.
SWEPCO will be staging almost 500 line, tree and support personnel, primarily in Central Louisiana, including a base camp in Natchitoches to provide food, lodging, parking and fuel.
“Forecasts continue to show the greatest threat to areas from Natchitoches south to Leesville, with the possibility of tropical storm-force winds near Shreveport-Bossier City as well,” Seidel said. “Our SWEPCO and contract line crews, tree crews and other storm personnel stand ready to restore power as safely and quickly as possible.”
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.
Storm preparation tips:
1. Plan ahead
Develop a plan for you and your family. Identify a safe area, and decide now what you’ll do if there’s an extended power outage. Be sure to contact family, friends, neighbors with young children, the elderly or people with medical conditions to ensure they also have a plan. If you or a family member relies on uninterrupted electric service for health reasons, make a plan now in case there are extended outages.
2. Create an emergency kit
Get ahead of storms by putting together an emergency preparedness kit that includes:
· Flashlights and fresh batteries
· Battery-powered radios or televisions
· Candles, matches or lighters
· Water for drinking and cooking
· Camping equipment like sleeping bags, camp stoves and lanterns
· Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
· Important medicines (prescription and over-the-counter) and medical supplies
· Supplies for babies and pets
· First aid kit
· Masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes
· Manufacturers’ instructions for your generator (if you have one)
· Instructions for how to manually open your garage door
· For additional information, visit:
3. Be safe
· Caution! – Always use caution with any alternate sources of lighting, cooking, cooling or heating. Never operate lanterns, heaters, generators, fuel-fired stoves or burn charcoal without proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
· Portable generator safety – If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your home’s main electrical panel. This can “back-feed” electricity into outside utility lines, creating the danger of electrocution for repair crews and the public. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions, and only plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
· Downed lines – All downed lines should be considered dangerous — they can carry an electric current that can cause serious or even fatal injuries. If you see a fallen wire, stay away and keep others away, including children and pets. Call SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919 or 911 immediately.
· Safe distance – Keep your distance from SWEPCO workers or contractors as they make repairs. They are following strict safety and social distancing guidelines. Please practice proper social distancing to allow them to complete their work safely. And be careful when driving or walking near all utility work zones.
4. Stay informed
· Make sure your contact information – including your cell number – is current with family, friends and others.
· Stay connected, report outages and check power restoration status:
o Download the SWEPCO mobile app: SWEPCO.com/App
o Sign up to get SWEPCO alerts: SWEPCO.com/Alerts
How SWEPCO Restores Power
Immediately after the storm, field personnel will begin clearing downed power lines and other hazards and assessing damage. Report hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919. Treat all downed lines as dangerous and energized.
“Our priority remains restoring power to essential public health and safety facilities such as hospitals and police and fire stations,” Seidel said.
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.
“You may see a truck stop briefly and then leave; this crew is usually assessing damage,” Seidel said. “Once damage is assessed, other crews will be dispatched to restore power. We appreciate your patience throughout this process.”