Recovery from Hurricane Ike now SWEPCO´s second worst storm ever

SHREVEPORT, La. September 14, 2008 – The massive electric power restoration effort in the wake of Hurricane Ike includes over 500 SWEPCO, contract personnel and tree crews and more than 1,150 outside personnel from other parts of the American Electric Power (AEP) system, including south and west Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana and Michigan. Storm restoration from Ike is now the second worst storm in SWEPCO’s 96-year history, with the peak number of customer outages reaching 187,000 early Sunday morning across east Texas, northwest Louisiana and western and northern Arkansas. The worst storm at SWEPCO was the Dec. 13, 2000 ice storm, when 234,000 customers were in the dark. Ike recovery tops the Sept. 2005 recovery from Hurricane Rita by 1,000 customers.
At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 14, there were 70,000 SWEPCO customers without power in Texas; 39,000 without power in Louisiana; and over 23,000 without electricity in Arkansas. Estimated time of restoration for 95 percent of SWEPCO’s customers who can take power in northern Arkansas is Monday noon; Texarkana area by late Wed.; Louisiana by late Thursday and East Texas by Friday. Hardest hit areas are Longview, Marshall, Henderson, Kilgore, Carthage and Texarkana, Texas; Shreveport, Bossier City and Haughton, La.; and Fayetteville and Rogers, Ark.
On Sunday morning, there were 31 transmission lines locked out and nine substations without power impacting some 6,000 customers. The company plans to have these stations back on by Sunday night. SWEPCO’s customer solutions phone centers are taking 14,000 customer calls hourly at peak calling times of early morning and late evening at 1-888-218-3919.

Utility crews will begin work soon in areas with heavier damage and in locations where restoration becomes more difficult.  “We ask for our customers’ continued patience and understanding during this crisis as we restore electric power as quickly and as safely as possible in the devastated SWEPCO service territory,” said Paul Chodak, SWEPCO president and chief operating officer.

SWEPCO, a unit of American Electric Power, delivers electricity to 473,000 homes, businesses and industries across three states. The region headquarters is in Shreveport.

Scott McCloud (318-673-3532)
Kacee Kirschvink (318-673-3394)