SWEPCO provides preliminary information on cause of East Texas outage

SHREVEPORT, La., Aug. 20, 2019 – A power outage that affected 85,000 East Texas customers Sunday was caused by an overload on part of the power grid after vegetation came into contact with two major power lines, according to preliminary investigation by Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) company.

Initial reports show the first high-voltage power line came into contact with vegetation that had grown into it, causing a fault on the electric system around 4 p.m. Sunday. Heat and high customer load caused a second high-voltage power line to sag into vegetation growing below it, resulting in a second fault around 4:15 p.m. SWEPCO implemented an emergency procedure of controlled outages to avoid further overloading of the system. The total outages peaked at approximately 85,000 customers around 7 p.m.

“We’re continuing to investigate the sequence of events to better understand what happened,” said Malcolm Smoak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer. “We are inspecting power lines and clearing additional trees and other vegetation in problem areas along transmission rights-of-way, where excessive rain this spring and summer has resulted in high vegetation growth.”

“We recognize that this outage disrupted our customers’ lives and businesses,” Smoak said. “We appreciate their patience during the outage.”

SWEPCO restored power to a majority of customers by 11 p.m. Sunday. Work continued overnight to complete restoration of service to the remaining 500 customers.

The customers affected by the outage were primarily in Longview, Marshall and the surrounding areas of Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Rusk and Upshur counties.

About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)

SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (AEP: NYSE) company, serves 536,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at SWEPCO.com. Connect with us at Facebook.com/SWEPCO, Twitter.com/SWEPCOnews, Youtube.com/SWEPCOtv and SWEPCOConnections.com.

About American Electric Power (AEP)

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 18,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 5,273 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, East Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners, and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.







SWEPCO Corporate Communications
Carey Sullivan (318) 673-3458
Peter Main (479) 973-2526