SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – SWEPCO says it 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, with 18,000 in Louisiana and 16,000 in East Texas.
At the peak, about 60,400 customers were out of power in Louisiana and East Texas.
More than 400 SWEPCO line and tree personnel, along with 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.
SWEPCO says 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.
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.”
SWEPCO also reminded customers to always assume that any downed utility line is energized and stay away. They also ask that down lines be reported 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.
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.