SHREVEPORT, La. (June 17, 2023) – Early morning storms on Friday left catastrophic damage in East Texas and Northwest Louisiana including significant impacts to transmission lines, the backbone of SWEPCO’s energy delivery network. The storm included a National Weather Service confirmed EF-1 half-mile wide tornado that touched down in Panola County, Texas and crossed into Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
At its peak, close to a quarter of a million SWEPCO customers lost power after the hurricane-force winds caused significant damage to the power delivery system across its service area. As of 1:30 p.m., Saturday, approximately 53,000 customers have had power restored; an estimated 197,000 SWEPCO customers remain without power.
An additional line of severe storms is forecast for late this evening, with the potential of up to 75 mph winds.
Friday’s severe storm caused major damage to SWEPCO’s transmission system with nearly 60 Transmission and Distribution stations impacted and nearly 50 transmission lines forced out of service due to tree and structure damage caused by the extreme weather. SWEPCO’s utility poles and distribution wires serving individual homes and businesses also experienced extensive damage.
Transmission lines deliver high-voltage power over long distances from power plants to substations where the power is converted to voltages appropriate for use in homes and businesses. Damage to the transmission lines can result in significant outages.
SWEPCO has activated an all-in response and are being joined by more than 2,800 utility professionals to help rebuild its power delivery system, including crews from AEP Texas, Appalachian Power, Indiana & Michigan Power, and Kentucky Power as well as other support from Missouri and Oklahoma. SWEPCO is grateful for all the crew members who have left their families to help in this historic restoration effort.
As restoration work on the system continues, additional outages could occur until SWEPCO’s transmission system is stabilized. Customers should prepare to be without service for an extended period.
Following initial damage assessments, restoration estimates for areas impacted by the storm are below. Restoration areas and times will be updated as crews continue working to restore power.
- Natchitoches District in Louisiana – 10 p.m., Tuesday, June 20
- Texarkana District in Texas – 10 p.m., Wednesday, June 21
- Longview District in Texas – 10 p.m., Friday, June 23
- Shreveport District in Louisiana – 10 p.m., Saturday, June 24
As we get more specific information for your area, we will update this information.
- For your safety and for the safety of our crews, please refrain from approaching them while they are working.
- Contact our customer service personnel with any questions about your service.
- Your safety and the safety of our crews are paramount. Stay away and keep children and pets at least ten feet away from downed lines. Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and dangerous.
- You can report downed lines and other hazards to SWEPCO at 888-218-3919 or online at https://www.swepco.com/outages/report/
- Downed power lines – Never touch a downed line, or go near it, no matter how harmless it looks. The line could be energized. Call SWEPCO or 911 immediately.
- Portable generator safety – If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators can “backfeed” electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)
SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, serves more than 551,144 customers in Northwest and Central Louisiana, Northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle, and Western Arkansas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at SWEPCO.com. Connect with us at Facebook.com/SWEPCO, Twitter.com/SWEPCOnews, Instagram.com/swepco, Youtube.com/SWEPCOtv and LinkedIn.com/company/swepco.
About American Electric Power (AEP)
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is powering a cleaner, brighter energy future for its customers and communities. AEP’s approximately 16,700 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to safely deliver reliable and affordable power to 5.5 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 31,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 7,100 megawatts of renewable energy. The company’s plans include growing its renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of total capacity by 2030. AEP is on track to reach an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and has committed to achieving net zero by 2045. AEP is recognized consistently for its focus on sustainability, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, which provides innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide. For more information, visit aep.com.