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AEP Texas Working to Recover After Hurricane Harvey

by on August 31, 2017
A pile of crumpled steel and metal is all that remains of the station house at the Live Oak Substation located in Portland, Texas. Portland is a community less than 30 miles from where Hurricane Harvey made landfall last Friday. Photo by Smokey Hays.

(Story by Omar Lopez)

AEP Texas continues the efforts to restore electricity to over 130,000 customers who remained without power Tuesday afternoon as a result of Hurricane Harvey. The storm, which reached Category 4 level when it made landfall on Friday night in Rockport, was the third storm of its size to ever strike Texas. At 2 p.m. Saturday, the number of outages peaked at 220,000 for the area.

More than 3,600 personnel from across the country have arrived in Texas to help with the restoration effort. Crews hail from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and other parts of south Texas. That number is expected to increase to 4,600 within days.

“We’re facing hundreds of down power lines, as well as utility poles damaged by the storm,” said Tom Coad, AEP Texas vice president of Distribution Region Operations. “(On Tuesday) there are nearly 4,400 hazard tickets still being addressed throughout the Coastal Bend area and approximately 2,600 in Corpus Christi alone. We know that customers are concerned about these hazards, and we are trying to get each one as quickly as possible.”

AEP Texas employees activated the Incident Command System (ICS) days before Harvey’s arrival at the AEP Texas headquarters in Corpus Christi, within 30 miles of where the storm made landfall in Rockport.

The massive storm slowly developed momentum in the Gulf of Mexico over several days and grew from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 4 in just over 24 hours. It hit the Texas coast with sustained winds of 130 miles per hour.

AEP CEO Nick Akins greeted an AEP Texas bucket truck as it made its way back to the Aransas Pass Service Center on Wednesday morning. Akins was visiting Corpus and the surrounding area following Hurricane Harvey.

AEP Texas estimates that at least 2,100 utility poles and 55 transmission structures were damaged or knocked down by the storm.

Destruction after the storm is massive, particularly in the small coastal cities of Rockport, Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. Preliminary reports indicate that the Aransas Pass Distribution Service Center is a complete loss.

AEP Texas projects that by Wednesday, Aug. 30, at 10 p.m. crews will have restored power to 95 percent of the customers within the City of Corpus Christi city limits, as well as the Sinton area. Most other areas affected by the storm have an ETR of 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 2; however, some areas such as Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside do not have ETRs yet, given the tremendous amount of devastation left by the storm.

Hurricane Harvey moved up the Texas coast and has now dumped a recorded 51.12 inches in the Houston area. Although no longer a hurricane, it is expected to re-enter the Gulf of Mexico and make landfall for a third time next week somewhere near Louisiana.

Please see AEPTexas.com for continuous updates on restoration efforts.

From → News From AEP

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