Thursday, April 18, 2024

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE: HOW SWEPCO IS PROACTIVELY PREPARING

by BPT Staff
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SWEPCO has been involved in planning conversations with appropriate local and regional partners in Arkansas and Texas to ensure coordinated efforts during the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024.

Similar to our storm response, SWEPCO has proactively:

  • Activated Our Incident Command System (ICS) in the Texarkana District: This establishes the framework, if needed, for a coordinated response and efficient communication across SWEPCO and with our local government partners.
  • Staggered Work Shifts & Will Strategically Place Crews: During the eclipse, our crews will be strategically positioned in areas most affected by the path of totality. Crews in those areas will also report to work in staggered shifts to help avoid expected traffic congestion and to ensure any outage restoration is completed safely and as quickly as possible.
  • Coordinated with Community Partners: We’ll continue to stay in close communication with local Emergency Management Agencies (EMAs) and law enforcement in advance of the event. This includes monitoring traffic patterns and requesting law enforcement escorts if needed to access our equipment during any outages.

As we do every day, SWEPCO will also be:

  • Tracking Weather Systems: AEP’s meteorologists will continue to monitor weather patterns and keep an eye out for anything that could impact our infrastructure.
  • Assessing the Need for Additional Personnel: In the event of severe weather, SWEPCO will determine if and when more crews are needed, whether from non-impacted locations in the region, including sister utility companies or from our mutual assistance partners in the region.

NOTE: Southwest Power Pool, SPP, the grid operator for 14 states, including the entire SWEPCO footprint in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, does not expect the grid to be affected by the eclipse or the influx of people in the area. While SPP doesn’t expect significant impacts to electric reliability in its region, it remains in constant contact with its member utilities, neighboring reliability coordinators and peers across the nation. SPP has made careful preparation for the effects of the April 8, 2024, eclipse. Its Little Rock, Arkansas headquarters lies directly in the eclipse’s path of totality, and most of its service territory will experience 50-75% eclipse coverage. SPP has planned for the eclipse’s impact both to its enterprise operations and the reliability of the regional power grid.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE & SAFELY ENJOY THE ECLIPSE

The safety of our customers and employees is our priority. The U.S. Department of Transportation  has shared important safety tips about planning, traveling, parking and safely viewing the eclipse. Here are a few important reminders from SWEPCO:

  • When looking for areas to view the eclipse, be sure to stay away from electric equipment. This includes not parking near substations, utility poles, pad-mounted transformers, transmission rights-of-way and all other electrical infrastructure.
  • Revisit your emergency preparedness plan. Contact family, friends and neighbors who are elderly or have a medical condition. (Don’t forget to include pets in your planning, too.)
  • Assemble or update your emergency kit.
  • Fully charge your cell phone and fill up your gas tank.

Customers with life-supporting medical equipment should have a backup power source and an alternate plan in the event of a power outage.

STAYING SAFE ON THE ROAD

Extremely heavy traffic is expected due to a surge in visitors during the event, which could result in an increase in vehicle accidents. Vehicle accidents are a leading cause of power outages across SWEPCO’s service territory and often take longer to repair depending on how much equipment is affected. We always encourage safe driving every day so you can reach your destination safely.

JOIN THE FUN AT SWEPCO-SPONSORED SOLARBRATIONS

SWEPCO is celebrating the eclipse by participating in community events and partnerships. This includes the production of a Great American Eclipse educational video, created in partnership with De Queen, Arkansas High School’s DQTV.Click here to watch the video.

SWEPCO also will take part in Sevierly Dark Festival in De Queen, Ark., on Saturday, April 6 and the Texarkana Solarbration on the Arkansas/Texas State Line on Monday, April 8. Meet up with Louie the Lightning Bug from the Electric Universe to snap a “Solar Selfie” and grab a limited edition SWEPCO “Pinhole Projector” to safely view the eclipse.

Download your own DIY Pinhole Projector in English and Spanish by clicking here.

STAYING CONNECTED

To receive the latest alerts and information from SWEPCO, customers should:

If information changes ahead of the eclipse, SWEPCO will provide an

update.

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