UPDATED: Electric utilities make headway on Harvey outage restorations

(Editor’s Note: All update times are Central)

8 a.m. Thursday

Electric utilities were beginning to make headway in dealing with the outages caused by Harvey. On Wednesday evening, five days after the storm’s initial onslaught, AEP Texas finally had reduced total number of customers without power to below 100,000. Aransas Pass and Rockport still had 37,250 outages, while 25,000 Corpus Christi customers were still waiting for renewed power.

AEP Texas estimated that Aransas Pass and Rockport customers would be restored by the evening of September 8, eight days from now. Parent company AEP CEO Nic Akins, however, told Bloomberg radio that the storm has devastated transmission lines in the region.

“We’re going to have to remake the grid,” Akins said in the radio interview.

CenterPoint Energy, meanwhile, had restored power to more than 750,000 Houston customers, the utility reported on its Facebook page. That’s about 96 percent of CenterPoint customers, while some 32,000 customers were still impacted by high water.

Entergy Texas reported it had restored approximately 129,000 customers as of Wednesday, while nearly 65,000 were still without power. Some 4,000 could not be restored currently due to high water.

1 p.m. Tuesday.

On its Facebook page, AEP Texas estimated that at least 2,100 utility poles and 55 transmission structures were damaged or knocked down by the storm.

Weather.com reported that a rain gauge in Harris County, Texas indicated that more than 49 inches of rain have fallen from the storm. This unofficially would be a continental U.S. record for a tropical cyclone. 

8:45 a.m. Tuesday

AEP Texas used its Twitter feed Monday evening to note that it has asked for an additional “1,000 personal over and above the 3,600 already committed to the restoration of the Coastal Bend.” Some 2,000 employees were called from outside the AEP Texas service territory, while the total number of outages was down to the still sizable number of 135,400.

As far north as Austin, Texas, Austin Energy’s map indicated dozens, perhaps hundreds, of outages still scattered across the city. The outages numbered more than 33,000 over the weekend.

4 p.m. Monday

AEP Texas crews had reduced the number of outages resulting from Hurricane Harvey to about 150,500.

Shown below is a breakdown of the areas with the highest concentration of outages, according to AEP social media accounts:
Aransas Pass — Rockport Area: 45,500
Corpus Christi: 57,400
Victoria: 21,000
Port Lavaca: 14,000
Sinton: 4,900
El Campo: 3,700
Beeville: 2,200
Kenedy: 1,500

Thousands of resources have arrived from across the country to help AEP Texas with restoration efforts following this historic weather event. Crews from Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and other states have arrived and are working on restoring power to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Weather continues to play a role in the current restoration plans. Flooding and newly ordered mandatory evacuations in parts of the AEP Texas service territory may impact projected ETRs.

AEP Texas is focused on the safe and timely restoration of service following the storm. Our crews are working well into the night to meet the estimated time of restoration (ETR) projections issued on Sunday. Please remember that those projections cite the date and time when crews will have restored power to 95 percent of the customers who lost service as a result of the storm. Many customers will see their service restored ahead of that schedule.

Work will continue until service has been restored to all customers impacted by the storm. The 95 percent target is cited because at that point, some normal day-to-day operations can resume as crews continue to restore power to the remaining customers without service.

AEP Texas projects that by Wednesday August 30 at 10 p.m. crews will have restored power to 95 percent of the customers within the City of Corpus Christi, as well as the Sinton area.

AEP Texas crews had reduced the number of outages resulting from Hurricane Harvey to 160,000 as of 8 p.m. on Sunday.

According to ERCOT, that number compares with the 300,000 consumers left without power at the peak of the outages, which occurred at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This is much less than the potential 1.25 million outages predicted by researchers at Texas A&M.

Corpus Christi had about 65,000 customers without power, while the Aransas Pass-Rockport area had close to 50,000 disconnected.

Electric cooperatives provide much of the power in rural south Texas and they were on the move all weekend to respond to outages. Several thousand customers of San Patricio Electric Cooperative and others suffered loss of service.

Restorations will be hampered by continued standing floodwaters in many areas.

Victoria Electric Cooperative also worked to rebuild and restore its system amidst Harvey’s toll, according to reports.

CenterPoint Energy, based in Houston, also reported nearly 90,000 outages.


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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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