With Hurricane Laura now a tropical storm, utilities in the South continue to work on restoring power to their customers.
As noted in an Aug. 27 public advisory by the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, at 1 a.m., CDT, Doppler radar images indicated that the eye of then-Hurricane Laura made landfall at the coast near Cameron, La.
According to an Aug. 27 “Tropical Storm Laura Public Advisory” by the National Hurricane Center and Central Pacific Hurricane Center, as of 4 p.m., CDT, tropical storm warnings remain in effect inland over portions of northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, and extreme western Mississippi. The center of Laura is forecast to move over Arkansas on the evening of Aug. 27, the mid-Mississippi Valley on Aug. 28, the Mid-Atlantic states on Aug. 29, and over the western Atlantic on Aug. 30, the public advisory said.
Con Edison in New York, for instance, said on Aug. 27 that is preparing for the possibility that the remnants of Laura could affect the area during the Aug. 29-30 weekend.
Entergy, in an Aug. 27 statement, said that its storm team is assessing damages and restoring power where it is safe to do so after Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane. As of 11 a.m., on Aug. 27, about 360,000 customers throughout the company’s service territories were without power, Entergy said, adding that while restoration efforts are starting in Texas and Louisiana, additional outages are occurring as the storm travels north into Arkansas.
The company said that it is continuing to add personnel to a restoration team of more than 13,000 that includes workers from 27 states either in the company’s territory or on their way to the storm-ravaged areas.
In a separate Aug. 27 statement, Entergy said that it has started periodic power outages for its customers in Texas, with the company taking that action as directed by the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) as a last resort, as well as in order to prevent a more extensive and prolonged power outage that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid.
The unusual circumstance is the result of extensive damage to Entergy’s transmission system caused by Laura in East Texas and West Louisiana, as well as the anticipated high demand for electricity due to high temperatures, the company said.
Laura damaged key transmission lines, conductors, as well as wooden and steel transmission towers that could bring electrical power from the east, Entergy said.
MISO, in an Aug. 26 statement, said that it is monitoring developments related to Laura and has proactively activated the Hurricane Management Command structure. MISO noted that it is analyzing information from federal, state, and local government agencies, as well as taking extensive measures to ensure grid safety and reliability.
American Electric Power’s Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), in its “Hurricane Update No. 3,” said that at 11 a.m., on Aug. 27, more than 125,000 of its customers were without power, with 112,000 of the affected customers being in northwest and central Louisiana. Early reports include widespread damage with trees, utility poles, and wires down across major roadways, the company said, noting that nearly 2,300 workers from 14 states and Canada will join more than 400 SWEPCO employees to restore power.
Separately on Aug. 27, CenterPoint Energy said that it continues to assess and repair damage to its natural gas facilities impacted by the storm, noting that additional company crews from Mississippi and Houston have been deployed to help handle emergencies and restore natural gas service.
Utilities provide assistance
Southern Company on Aug. 27 said that as the hurricane made landfall, Georgia Power crews were preparing to head to Baton Rouge to provide assistance to Entergy’s Entergy Louisiana. The company noted that about 100 personnel and crews made their way to a staging location in Baton Rouge before receiving assignments to support restoration after the storm, with an additional 300 support personnel having been cleared to aid in any other restoration requests.
Sempra Energy on Aug. 27 said that the Sempra Energy Foundation is pledging $500,000 to assist communities in Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas affected by Laura, with the funds to be directed to support the critical needs of Louisiana and Texas as they are identified. The company said that it has a goal of raising another $1m toward recovery efforts by enlisting partners and others in the energy industry across the region.
Sempra noted that its subsidiary, Sempra LNG, owns 50.2% of the Cameron LNG export facility in Hackberry, La., in addition to other operational facilities in Cameron, Calcasieu, and Beauregard parishes.