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2015: a stormy year with costly outages
By Daniel Otto on February 9, 2016
Last year’s much needed rain ended the statewide five-year drought. Unfortunately, for the residents of San Antonio and the surrounding areas, the drought didn’t end quietly. Locally, severe weather bombarded us with thunderstorms, lightning and hail. Floods devastated some areas, damaging homes and property.
My sister, a resident of San Marcos, returned home after an April storm to find her home filled with four feet of water. Thankfully, she had been visiting friends, and although she returned to find her pets safe, some precious memorabilia was destroyed beyond repair.
In Greater San Antonio, storms delivered 16.1 percent more lightning strikes and 57 percent more rain than the previous year. The lightning, wind, and rain associated with each storm created havoc for our city and tested our resiliency here at CPS Energy as widespread outages occurred.
Storms in April and May brought down multiple poles and overhead power lines. Weakened from the long drought, dry trees and branches fell onto our equipment, damaging transformers and causing outages that ranged from 30-second flickers to 30-hour outages.
Our crews worked 16-hour shifts as they went round-after-round with severe weather systems that pummeled our electrical infrastructure, causing outages at some point for nearly all of our 760,000 customers. To this day, we are still working to upgrade critical equipment that may have been beaten and battered.
Between April and May alone, costs for major damage to equipment needed to provide customers with reliable service totaled nearly $3 million.
Weather experts predicted El Niño would bring higher than normal rainfall and cooler temperatures this winter. It’s February and we haven’t seen it yet. And, although we did see near freezing temperatures in late February last year, it looks like we dodged a bullet.
So, let’s hope we will do the same in Spring 2016.
Regardless of the time of the year, our customers can be certain that with every severe weather event we will work safely and around the clock to ensure their power is back on as quickly as possible. That’s what we do.
Whether here, or away from home when another utility calls for help, we’re committed to getting the lights back on.