Shreveport, LA, (Monday, Jan. 11, 2021) – SWEPCO has restored power to almost half of Louisiana and East Texas customers impacted by Sunday’s winter storm. As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, about 34,000 customers remained without power.
More than 400 line and tree personnel from SWEPCO, its sister company Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and outside contract crews are working to restore service.
“This storm was anything but normal,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Region Distribution Operations. “Usually, we see some accumulation of snow or ice north of I-20. However, Carthage recorded 4.5 inches of snow. And according to the National Weather Service, parts of Natchitoches Parish saw 4 inches of snow, and Shreveport had 3 inches.”
The heavy, wet snow caused outages as far south as Hornbeck in Central Louisiana.
“Our employees and contractors are making steady progress getting the lights back on despite last night’s heavy snow, which has turned into slush and mud,” Seidel said.
Most outages were caused by tree branches weighed down by snow coming into contact with a power line. Safety devices automatically de-energize the power line when this occurs.
Additional outages may occur as snow melts and tree limbs weighed down with snow come into contact with power lines on their way back up.
At the peak, about 60,400 customers were out of power in Louisiana and East Texas.
As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, approximately 18,000 customers in Louisiana and 16,000 in East Texas were without power.
Power has been restored to more than 95% of customers in Bossier City, Plain Dealing and Vivian.
SWEPCO estimates that most Louisiana customers will be restored by 10 p.m. Tuesday and a majority of East Texas customers by 10 p.m. Wednesday.
“All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. Downed wires may be covered in snow and difficult to see,” Seidel said. “Don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences, or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard.”
Report downed lines and equipment and other hazards immediately to SWEPCO at 1-888-218-3919.
If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “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.
“SWEPCO continues to use the Covid-19 precautions we have used during multiple hurricanes and other major storms,” Seidel said.
How to report, track outages
Use the SWEPCO app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play.
Sign up for text and email updates, including estimated time of restoration, at SWEPCO.com/Alerts.
Visit SWEPCO.com/OutageMap to find detailed information without logging into your account.
Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage.
For updates and photos, see SWEPCO.com and follow SWEPCO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Workers are practicing social distancing and other measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, making the recovery effort especially challenging.
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.
Also, be careful when driving or walking in all utility crew work zones.