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Crews deployed to Gulf Coast to prepare for restoration from Hurricane Delta

October 9, 2020

by Susan Partain
APPA News
October 9, 2020

Public power crews had already deployed and the mutual aid network had been active before the tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Delta began affecting southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas on Friday morning.

As of midday Friday, more than 200 personnel from 39 public power utilities have been deployed or are scheduled to deploy to assist nine public power utilities in Louisiana: City of Abbeville, City of Alexandria, the Town of Boyce, Town of Gueydan, Lafayette Utilities System, the City of New Roads, Plaquemine City Light and Water, City of St. Martinsville, and the Town of Welsh.

Responding utilities, as of Friday, October 9, include the following.

  • From Alabama: Opelika Power Services
  • From Florida: Beaches Energy Services, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Gainesville Regional Utilities, City of Homestead Electric Utility, JEA, Keys Energy Services, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lakeland Electric, Orlando Utilities Commission, and City of Tallahassee Electric Utility.
  • From Georgia: the Cities of Acworth, Albany, Cairo, Calhoun, Cartersville, Covington, LaGrange, and Newnan, and the Crisp County Power Commission, Dalton Utilities, Electric Cities of Georgia, and Marietta Power and Water
  • From Kentucky: Frakfort Electric Power Board, the Henderson City Utility Commission, Owensboro Municipal Utility, and Paducah Power System
  • From Missouri: the City of Harrisonville, City of Nixa, City of Palmyra Board of Public Works, and Poplar Bluff Municipal Utilities
  • From North Carolina: the cities of High Point, Rocky Mount, and Statesville, the Town of Wake Forest, and Wilson Energy
  • From Oklahoma: Edmond Electric and Grand River Dam Authority
  • From South Carolina: Santee Cooper

Austin Energy in Texas also reported that it is sending crews to support investor-owned utility American Electric Power, which has a service territory that includes Shreveport, La. CPS Energy, also based in Texas, noted plans to assist affected IOUs.

As of Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center expected Hurricane Delta to hit the coast as a Category 3 hurricane, coming to shore by Friday evening, and then downgrade to a tropical storm by Saturday morning as it moves inland in a northeast direction into northern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The American Public Power Association compiled a moments feed on twitter to capture the mutual aid activity and latest news from the utilities involved in the response.

Another in a long season

Delta is the 24th named storm in the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the tenth to hit the continental US.

The hurricane is on a path to affect many of the same areas hit by Hurricane Laura at the end of August. Hurricane Laura damaged significant portions of the transmission system, leading to prolonged outages for customers in the area. Customers in the City of Vinton, La., got power restored at the end of September after investor-owned utility Entergy completed restoration of a transmission line connected to the public power city. For Hurricane Laura, the Energy Subsector Coordinating Council reported that nearly 30,000 people from 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada participated in restoration activities across the utility sector.

In mid-September, the Gulf Coast region also experienced Hurricane Sally, which made landfall in Alabama as a Category 2 hurricane. In that storm, public power crews from Alabama, Louisiana and Florida aided three coastal Alabama utilities.

As has been the case with other mutual aid scenarios during the pandemic, crews traveling to Louisiana must complete health screenings and undergo temperature checks. As a precaution, local and responding crews practice social distancing during briefings and while having meals and have been supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment. 

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