South Texas Utilities Getting Closer to Full Restoration

Utilities and partners in south Texas were closer to the end than the beginning when it comes to fully restoring power in the devastating, deadly wake of Hurricane Harvey. Yet they all admitted there’s a long way to go.

Content Dam Up En Articles Elp Archives 2017 09 South Texas Utilities Getting Closer To Full Restoration Leftcolumn Article Thumbnailimage File

Updated 10:45 a.m. CT Thursday

AEP Texas crews have restored power to more than 90 percent of the 220,000 customers who lost power when Hurricane Harvey hit south Texas nearly two weeks ago, the utility announced Thursday morning. Some 28,000 customers are still waiting for reconnection.

"Crews are concentrating the largest effort in the Aransas Pass, Rockport, Victoria and Refugio areas, which were most devastated by the storm," the release by AEP TExas reads. " Crews also continue to work in other areas throughout the Coastal Bend where there are outages affecting small groups of customers or individuals."

The Aransas Pass area holds most of the outages with 25,000. The utility hopes to have all power restored by Friday.

The utility suffered tragedy earlier this week when an AEP contractor lineman was killed while working on Harvey restoration efforts near Bloomington, Texas, according to reports.

Houston-based CenterPoint Energy had reconnected nearly all of its customers, although infrastructure was still in peril and causing prolonged outages for some. A temporary substation placed for the Spring Branch service area was activated, but certain customers still could not be reconnected until Buffalo Bayou had receded, according to the company's release.

The Victoria Electric Cooperative had power back on for more than 20,000 customers or nearly 95 percent of its base. The area was particularly hard hit in Harvey's initial landfall, while Houston was devastated by the days in incessant rain and flooding.

Updated Tuesday

Utilities and partners in south Texas were closer to the end than the beginning when it comes to fully restoring power in the devastating, deadly wake of Hurricane Harvey. Yet they all admitted there’s a long way to go.

The new week dawned with most of the affected areas more than halfway there. Some areas, such as Aransas Pass and Rockport, still have days to go, while Corpus Christi and Houston’s biggest utilities are almost fully restored.

Nonetheless, Houston-based CenterPoint Energy pleaded for patience and caution.

“If you are one of our customers still impacted by #Harvey, we haven't forgotten about you; we know you are frustrated,” the utility reported on social media. “We are still working hard to restore ALL customers. As you return home—please be safe and have all electrical and natural gas equipment inspected.”

CenterPoint reported that more than 99 percent of its customers had power restored. The company also donated $1.25 million to various relief efforts, including $300,000 to help its employees who live in the service territory and were impacted the storm and $250,000 each to the American Red Cross, local United Way and the Houston mayor’s relief effort.

By Monday evening, AEP Texas had reconnected more than 180,000 of its 220,000 customers stretching across south Texas. Corpus Christi—which faced the opening salvo of the deadly storm—was fully restored, while slower progress was being made in Aransas Pass and Rockport. That area still had 28,000 outages and full repair wouldn’t be made until Friday, according to the utility.

The Victoria, Texas, Electric Cooperative reported that more than 20,000 meters—90 percent of its system—was operating again. Other South Texas Electric Cooperatives were making similar progress.

Entergy Texas had restored power to all but about 17,000 of its 192,000 customers who suffered outages due to Harvey’s wind and rain. Entergy’s work in the field benefited from mobile substations delivered by Oncor Electric Delivery, Cleco and Entergy units in Louisiana and Mississippi (see one in photo above).

Last week, AEP Texas estimated that Harvey destroyed hundreds of transmission and distribution poles. The storm has killed at least 60 people, according to wire reports.

More in Safety