AP NEWS

Entergy working to restore all power across Liberty County after heavy rains

May 13, 2019

Entergy workers can take a brief sigh of relief following a round of thunderstorms over the weekend that caused hurricane-like damage to the power grid.

The wind, severe lightning, and flooding caused massive destruction to the electrical system.

“The impact to our equipment in some areas is more consistent with damage we see following minor hurricanes rather than a typical thunderstorm,” said Stuart Barrett, vice president of customer service for Entergy Texas, Inc.

Barrett said crews were working feverishly to restore power to the more than 55,000 customers affected by the storm.

By late Friday afternoon, 28,000 remained without power but then another round of storms on Saturday brought additional problems.

Barrett said he hoped restoration efforts would be completed by Tuesday, May 14.

The issue was punctuated by the amount of damaged high-voltage transmission lines.

“Those have to be restored before we do work on individual connections,” Kirschvink said.

A report from the National Weather Service clocked winds at 76 mph on High Island, the low end of a Category 1 hurricane. The Liberty County area received gusts reaching 60 mph causing minor tree and limb damage and flooding in the typically flood-prone areas.

“With these storms you just never know,” she said. Kirschvink said Entergy is already in storm readiness mode and crews worked through Mother’s Day restoring power to customers.

The Dayton area was mostly restored by late Friday night, and early Saturday morning.

There were unconfirmed reports of a tornado in the south part of Liberty County, but no touchdowns.

“There was damage across the Liberty County area, but not anything like what we saw in Port Arthur, Beaumont, Winnie, Orange and Vidor,” she said.

Some of those customers were still without power late Saturday and crews were working feverishly to get everyone restored.

“We know how vital electricity is for our customers, and we are doing everything we can to safely restore it,” Barrett added. “The amount of damage is significant, so we appreciate your patience, as our dedicated employees work as hard as they can to get the lights back on.”

More than 1,300 workers were on the job working to return power to all customers during the height of the storm.

Kirschvink said the technology with the electrical lines is such that in a lot of cases, the power will come back on without a crew if lines aren’t damaged.

“It will blink three times, and if the system senses a fault on the line, it will try on it’s on to restart,” she said. “It will try to clear it when it’s possible to reset itself, but if after three times it doesn’t come on, it will shut down to protect the rest of the system.”

A little more than 5,000 customers in the Dayton and Liberty County area were knocked out during the storm.

“There was a lot of lightning, almost continuous at times, that caused a lot of damage,” she said.

The Dayton area had many in accessible areas.

“We had to use marsh buggies and air boats to access some areas that were severely flooded before we could restore power.”

The numerous transmission lines that went down, also were a headache for crews.

Kirschvink thanked customers for their patience.

“The customers were really great to work with and it helped with the restoration process.”

To see the outages by location via the Entergy outage map, go to entergy.com/viewoutages.

dtaylor@hcnonline.com