Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) is preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Ida, particularly in central Louisiana.
“We urge customers to complete their storm preparedness plans today for possible tropical storms and power outages early Monday,” said Drew Seidel, vice president of distribution region operations at SWEPCO.
SWEPCO will feature nearly 500 line, tree and support workers, primarily in central Louisiana, including a base camp in Natchitoches to provide food, accommodation, parking and fuel.
“The forecast continues 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,” said Seidel. “Our SWEPCO and subcontracting teams, tree crews and other storm personnel are ready to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”
Customers who use life support systems or require uninterrupted electrical service for health reasons should make other arrangements for possible power outages.
Storm preparedness tips:
1. Plan ahead
Make a plan for yourself and your family. Identify a safe area and now decide what to do in the event of a prolonged power outage. Be sure to contact family, friends, neighbors with young children, the elderly, or people with health concerns to make sure they have a plan as well. If you or a family member relies on uninterrupted electrical service for health reasons, plan now for extended outages.
2. Create an emergency kit
Anticipate storms by putting together an emergency preparedness kit that includes:
Flashlights and new batteries
Battery-powered radios or televisions
Candles, matches or lighters
Water for drinking and cooking
Camping gear like sleeping bags, camping stoves and lanterns
Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
Important drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) and medical supplies
Baby and pet supplies
First aid kit
Masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes
Manufacturer’s instructions for your generator (if you have one)
Instructions for manually opening your garage door
For more information, visit:
o Ready.gov/hurricanes and Ready.gov/kit
3. Be careful
· To warn! – Always be careful with any other source of lighting, cooking, cooling or heating. Never use lanterns, heaters, generators, fuel stoves or charcoal without proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
· Safety of portable generators – If you are using a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your home’s main electrical panel. This can “re-feed” electricity to outdoor power lines, creating an electrocution hazard to repair crews and the public. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions and plug only essential devices directly into the generator.
· Downed lines – All fallen lines should be considered dangerous – they can carry an electric current which can cause serious injury or death. 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.
· Safety distance – Keep your distance from SWEPCO workers or subcontractors while they are performing repairs. They follow strict safety and social distancing guidelines. Please practice appropriate social distancing to allow them to complete their work safely. And be careful when driving or walking near all public works areas.
4. Stay informed
· Make sure your contact information – including your cell phone number – is up to date with your family, friends and others.
Stay connected, report outages and check the power restore status:
o Download the SWEPCO mobile app: SWEPCO.com/App
o Sign up to receive SWEPCO Alerts: SWEPCO.com/Alerts
o Follow SWEPCO on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
How SWEPCO restores power
Immediately after the storm, field staff will begin cleaning up downed power lines and other hazards and assessing damage. Report hazards by calling 1-888-218-3919. Treat all fallen lines as dangerous and live.
“Our priority remains to restore power to essential public health and safety facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations,” Seidel said.
As the damage is assessed, workers will repair the main power lines that restore power to as many customers as possible as quickly as possible. Crews will repair power lines and equipment that serve multiple customers, then individual service lines for homes and businesses.
“You can see a truck stop briefly and then drive away; this crew usually assesses the damage, ”Seidel said. “Once the damage has been assessed, other crews will be sent to restore power. Thank you for your patience throughout this process.