SWEPCO explains why vegetation caused power outage

East Texas News at 6.
Published: Aug. 21, 2019 at 6:53 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - SWEPCO has determined what caused a wide-spread power outage that affected thousands of East Texas customers on Sunday.

An AEP-SWEPCO investigation has found that the outages all started from plants touching power lines.

Power was flickering at Longview businesses, and numerous signal lights were out, as Sundays outages had SWEPCO workers looking for why it happened.

“Our preliminary investigation shows an overload of the East Texas power grid. this occurred after vegetation came in contact with two of our power lines,” said SWEPCO corporate communications spokesman Peter Main.

SWEPCO says it happened between Hallsville and Longview.

The power outage was region-wide and Texas Eastman was hit by it too, resulting in flairs burning off excess gas.

How exactly does vegetation cause an outage?"

"We have very high vegetation growth because of excessive rain this spring and summer. Power lines can sag a bit and that's normal. But when you have months of excessive rainfall like we've had, that contact of vegetation and power lines increases. When trees and vegetation come in contact with power lines that can cause faults in the system and that happened around 4 and 4:15 on Sunday," Main says.

Instances like this are rare but they do happen.

“With the loss of transmission facilities, we implemented an emergency procedure of controlled outages. and this prevented further overloading. We’re patrolling our lines clearing vegetation from potential problem areas,” says Main.

85,000 East Texas customers were affected in Sunday’s outage.

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