Thousands of Texans without power after Friday night’s storms

Thousands of Texans without power after Friday night’s storms
Power is out in some areas. (Source: WALB)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Crews are in the process of restoring power to thousands of customers all over Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana after a strong storm system blew through the area Friday night.

The Southwestern Electric Power Company took a hard hit.

“Severe storms moved through the Ark-La-Texas late Friday, causing extensive damage – including downed poles and lines to SWEPCO’s electric system and leaving approximately 19,300 customers without power,” a press release stated. “At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, approximately 9.500 customers were without power, including 1,500 in Louisiana, 4,700 in Arkansas, and 3,400 in Texas.”

The press release stated that the company officials expect to have power restored to at least 95 percent of its East Texas customers by 10 p.m. Sunday.

“SWEPCO and contractor crews continue to access storm damage and restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” the press release stated.

Most of SWEPCO’s East Texas outages were in Harrison County, which had 87 outages as of 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Cass County had 36 outages, and Shelby County had six outages. Panola, Rusk, Shelby, Titus, and Upshur counties each had less than five outages.

Oncor is reporting that 401 of its Texas customers were without power as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday. That total includes 29 in Angelina County, three in Nacogdoches County, and one in Smith County.

The Houston County Electric Cooperative reported one power outage.

The Cherokee County Electric County Cooperative, the Houston County Electric Cooperative, the Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative, and the Wood County Electric Cooperative were not reporting any power outages as of 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The SWEPCO press release also gave the following safety tips:

  • KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE: Help utility crews stay safe and healthy while working to restore your power. Maintain at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and SWEPCO field personnel as we all play a crucial role in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
  • DOWNED POWER LINES: Never touch a downed utility wire, no matter how harmless it looks. It can be difficult to distinguish between a power line and a cable or telephone line. All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. And don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences, or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard. Call SWEPCO to report any downed lines or equipment.
  • PORTABLE GENERATORS: If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.

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