At 6 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, around 184,000 customers were still without power in Texas and Louisiana, the Edison Electric Institute reported. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the association representing all US investor-owned utilities says that progress is being made to restore power.
In the places where flooding isn’t an issue, utility crews have been able to quickly and safely get the electricity flowing again. “In many other areas, weather conditions and damage are preventing crews from getting to the hardest-hit or most flooded areas,” the EEI says.
Utilities in the impacted areas aren’t going it alone, though. Crews from at least 21 states have come to assist electric companies, and more than 10,000 workers are currently dedicated to restoring power, according to the EEI.
As EEI points out, electric companies have detailed plans for restoring electricity following storms. Usually the utility makes sure that no power is flowing through the downed lines, and then proceeds with restoration based on established priorities.
Today CenterPoint Energy said on Twitter that it had completed more than 842,000 restorations in the past week so that 98.92% of customers currently have power. Entenergy Texas reported restoring more than 200,000 outages and Duke Energy tweeted that its crews were en route to Texas to provide restoration help.
Still, utilities cautioned that extreme flooding can reduce power line clearances and urged anyone out in boats to avoid any water near a suspected downed line. High water is slowing restoration efforts in some areas, including Brazoria County, which was flooded this week when the levee at Columbia Lakes breached.
Smart meters have helped utilities identify outages caused by Harvey, but restoration takes time. Soaked equipment needs to dry out, trees have to get cleared away, and the poles and lines must be reset, CenterPoint Energy tweeted.
Hurricane Harvey shut down refineries, sent oil prices soaring, and has affected more than half a million businesses in the area.