Power restoration has begun in the South following Hurricane Laura, which, according to a CNN report updated at 9:49 a.m., EST, on Aug. 28, caused six deaths and left “a wide path of destruction.”
As of 3:53 p.m., EST, on Aug. 28, Laura was expected to continue weakening and lose its tropical characteristics as it tracks quickly eastward across the lower Ohio valley on the evening of Aug. 28, before crossing the central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states on Aug. 29, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The system will still have the potential to bring periods of heavy rain, strong-to-severe thunderstorms, and gusty winds to locations along and near its track, NWS said.
American Electric Power’s Southwestern Electric Power Co., (SWEPCO), in its Aug. 28 “Hurricane Update No. 5,” said that it estimates that most customers in the Shreveport-Bossier area will have power restored by 10 p.m., Sept. 2, and by 10 p.m., Sept. 3 for Central Louisiana customers. As of 9:30 a.m., on Aug. 28, about 107,000 customers were without power, including 103,000 in Louisiana, the company said, adding that at the storm’s peak, 136,000 of its customers in Louisiana and East Texas were without power.
Entergy on Aug. 28 said that nearly 48,000 customers lost power, as trees fell onto power lines and heavy winds damaged power poles and electrical equipment. More than half of those customers were restored by the afternoon of Aug. 28, and the company expects 98% of customers who can take power will be restored by the evening of Aug. 31, Entergy said.
In a statement provided to TransmissionHub on the evening of Aug. 27, Entergy said that generating units in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana were taken offline in advance of the storm to keep employees safe. Three generators are operating in Entergy Texas’ territory, including two units at Lewis Creek plant in Willis, Texas, and a merchant plant, the company said, adding that it is in the process of assessing its Sabine Plant in Bridge City, Texas, to determine its readiness to return to service.
Cleco, in its statement, said that as of 4 p.m., on Aug. 28, it has restored power to more than 49,000 of the 140,000 customers who lost electricity after Hurricane Laura moved across Louisiana on Aug. 27. The latest assessments show Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Grant, Rapides and Vernon parishes were the hardest hit, the company said, adding that it will be able to provide more details on restoration progress in the coming days.
In an Aug. 28 statement, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) said that more than 20,000 workers from at least 28 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada are mobilized to assist with the power restoration mission. In some cases, storm damage will require that energy infrastructure be rebuilt before power can be restored, EEI said.
CenterPoint Energy, for instance, said that it deployed on the morning of Aug. 28 almost 400 linemen, contractors, and support personnel from Houston and Evansville, Ind., to assist with power restoration efforts in southwest Louisiana due to the storm’s extensive damage.
Similarly, Southern Company’s Mississippi Power on Aug. 28 said that its storm team of more than 80 linemen, engineers, and support personnel departed from service centers across the company’s territory that morning to join the restoration efforts in Louisiana.
Southern Company spokesperson Schuyler Baehman on Aug. 28 told TransmissionHub that about 350 Alabama Power team members from across the state, including line crews and support personnel, departed crew headquarters on the morning of Aug. 27 to provide support.
The Midcontinent ISO (MISO) said in its statement that it escalated to the most severe step in its emergency actions on Aug. 27 in order to avoid a larger power outage on the bulk electric system in the affected areas. MISO noted that because of the significant storm damage to the transmission system, it directed Entergy to begin periodic power outages.
Among other things, MISO said that it is in close coordination with member companies and counterparts such as Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and ERCOT to ensure grid reliability.