As potentially severe winter weather approaches the Ark-La-Tex this weekend, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) encourages customers to be prepared should power outages occur.
“Snow and ice can cause problems for the electric system because their weight brings down trees and power lines, and snow- or ice-covered roads slow our ability to get to the damaged poles, transformers and wires,” said Drew Seidel, SWEPCO vice president of Region Distribution Operations. “In addition, continued low temperatures can cause storm recovery problems for several days.”
SWEPCO customers are encouraged to be prepared for the possibility of power outages. Keep cell phones charged and ready. Be sure to have an adequate supply of any medications and medical supplies, plus any supplies needed for babies and pets. For those with medical needs requiring electricity, SWEPCO advises to have a back-up plan in place in the event of an extended outage. Customers can be prepared with an emergency kit, including blankets, flashlights and other supplies.
“We are closely monitoring the weather, placing our line, tree and support personnel on standby, checking supplies and preparing to mobilize the resources needed to restore power if outages occur,” Seidel said.
How to report, track outages
- Use the SWEPCO app, available for download via the App Store or Google Play.
- Sign up for text and email updates, including estimated time of restoration, at SWEPCO.com/Alerts.
- Visit SWEPCO.com/OutageMap to find detailed outage information without logging into your account.
- Call 1-888-218-3919 to report your outage or hazard.
If an outage occurs, remember these safety tips:
- Treat all downed lines as if they are carrying electricity. Stay away, and keep others away, especially children and pets. Don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees or fences. Call SWEPCO immediately to report downed lines.
- Be careful using any alternate sources for heating, cooling, cooking or lighting. If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your home’s main electrical panel. This can “back-feed” electricity into outside utility lines, creating the danger of electrocution for repair crews and the public. Instead, read the manufacturer’s instructions, and only plug essential appliances directly into the generator.
Create an emergency outage kit
Be prepared should the power go out. Assemble an emergency outage kit that includes the following items, at a minimum:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries
- Candles, matches, or lighters
- Water for drinking and cooking
- Camping equipment (sleeping bags, camp stoves, lanterns)
- Non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Manufacturers’ instructions for power-operated equipment such as the garage door, generator
- Important medicines you need to take. Better to locate them while the power is still on than fumbling around in the dark should the power go out.
NOTE: Always use caution with any alternate sources of lighting, cooking or heat.
More information on what do to prepare for an outage may be found at SWEPCO.com/Outages.