Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Crews deployed to Gulf Coast in quick restoration from Hurricane Delta

This story was updated Monday, October 12 to reflect the latest restoration activities.

Public power crews had already deployed and the mutual aid network had been active before the tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Delta began affecting southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas on Friday morning.

As of Monday morning, more than 350 personnel from more than 40 public power utilities had been deployed to assist 10 public power utilities in Louisiana: City of Abbeville, City of Alexandria, Town of Boyce, Town of Gueydan, Lafayette Utilities System, City of New Roads, Plaquemine City Light and Water, City of Rayne, City of St. Martinsville, and Town of Welsh.

The storm led to about 50,000 of LUS' customers losing power Friday night. By Sunday afternoon, only 12,000 LUS customers remained without power. The cities of Rayne, Welsh, and Winnfield all lost their transmission ties in the storm. Public power crews coordinated with investor-owned utility Entergy on restoration of the transmission.

Across the region, more than 870,000 customers in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi lost power from the storm, and more than 12,000 workers were involved in the response across the industry. More than half of all customers who experienced an outage related to the storm had power back within 48 hours.

Responding utilities, as of Saturday, October 10, included the following.

  • From Alabama: Dothan Utilities, Opelika Power Services, City of Troy
  • From Florida: Beaches Energy Services, Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, Gainesville Regional Utilities, City of Homestead Electric Utility, JEA, Keys Energy Services, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Lakeland Electric, Orlando Utilities Commission, and City of Tallahassee Electric Utility.
  • From Georgia: the cities of Acworth, Albany, Cairo, Calhoun, Cartersville, Covington, LaGrange, and Newnan, and the Crisp County Power Commission, Dalton Utilities, Electric Cities of Georgia, and Marietta Power and Water
  • From Kentucky: Frankfort Electric Power Board, the Henderson City Utility Commission, Owensboro Municipal Utility, and Paducah Power System
  • From Missouri: City of Harrisonville, City of Nixa, City of Palmyra Board of Public Works, and Poplar Bluff Municipal Utilities
  • From North Carolina: the cities of High Point, Rocky Mount, and Statesville, Town of Wake Forest, and Wilson Energy
  • From Oklahoma: Edmond Electric and Grand River Dam Authority
  • From South Carolina: Santee Cooper

Conway Corp in Arkansas deployed to assist cooperative utility SLEMCO. LUS also expected to send crews to assist SLEMCO with restoration following completion of restoration on its system.

Austin Energy in Texas sent crews to support investor-owned utility American Electric Power, but the crews were released Saturday morning.

As of Friday morning, the National Hurricane Center expected Hurricane Delta to hit the coast as a Category 3 hurricane, coming to shore by Friday evening, and then downgrade to a tropical storm by Saturday morning as it moves inland in a northeast direction into northern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The American Public Power Association compiled a moments feed on twitter to capture the mutual aid activity and latest news from the utilities involved in the response.

Another in a long season

Delta is the 24th named storm in the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the tenth to hit the continental US.

The hurricane's path affected many of the same areas hit by Hurricane Laura at the end of August. Hurricane Laura damaged significant portions of the transmission system, leading to prolonged outages for customers in the area. Customers in the City of Vinton, La., got power restored at the end of September after investor-owned utility Entergy completed restoration of a transmission line connected to the public power city. For Hurricane Laura, the Energy Subsector Coordinating Council reported that nearly 30,000 people from 29 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada participated in restoration activities across the utility sector.

In mid-September, the Gulf Coast region also experienced Hurricane Sally, which made landfall in Alabama as a Category 2 hurricane. In that storm, public power crews from Alabama, Louisiana and Florida aided three coastal Alabama utilities.

As has been the case with other mutual aid scenarios during the pandemic, crews traveling to Louisiana must complete health screenings and undergo temperature checks. As a precaution, local and responding crews practice social distancing during briefings and while having meals and have been supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment.