As tropical depression Harvey has reformed in the Gulf of Mexico, we at CPS Energy are preparing for what might be a long weekend of heavy rain, strong winds and power outages. Unlike storms that bring lightning and heavy downpours, hurricane-type storms bring with them a potential for sustained high winds and major flooding, which opens the door for long-lasting power outages.
We are actively coordinating the need for additional resources to be ready should Harvey make its way inland to our service area. The last major hurricane to hit Texas was Ike in 2008.
So what makes Harvey such a concern for us? Strong winds. A major culprit of power outages is trees and limbs falling on powerlines. All lines on the ground should be treated as if electricity is flowing through it. Keep away from the line and anything it may be touching. Immediately call 210-353-HELP (4357) to report the issue.
The risk of trees and limbs in power lines is even greater this year, as trees have become brittle due to lack of rain this year. Before any crews can begin the repair process, all of the tree or limbs must be removed and the area cleared for crews to work safely. In some cases, the ground may become impassible due to mud, which means CPS Energy crews must default to climbing poles or even carrying heavy equipment in by hand – all of which slows the restoration process.
There are some things you can do to help prepare for possibility of power outages. Such as:
- Locate flashlights and ensure they have fresh batteries.
- Charging cell phones, laptops or other electronic devices.
- Updating alert preferences through Manage My Account on cpsenergy.com; this will keep customers informed as to the status of their power outage.
In addition, during a power outage:
- Stay informed by viewing the latest outage information on CPS Energy’s outage map and receiving updates through Facebook and Twitter.
- Stay away from downed power lines! Treat all wires as if they are “live” (energized). Report damaged power lines immediately by calling 911 and CPS Energy at 353-4327.
- Protect electronic devices such as televisions, stereos, computers, printers with a power strip equipped with a surge protector to avoid sudden spikes and surges that could damage electrical devices when power is restored.
- Keep one light turned on to know when power has been restored.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep food cold longer. According to the American Red Cross, an unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. Also, a full freezer will keep the temperature for 48 hours if the door remains closed.
- Use caution with candles and generators, carefully placing them so as not to create a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning hazard.
- Use caution when driving, as traffic signals may be disrupted. Turn around don’t drown.
One thing is for certain, no matter how long the storm lasts, how devastating the impact or how widespread the outages, our crews will work around the clock as quickly and safety as possible to ensure every one of our customers is restored.