WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- While Hurricane Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm this afternoon, prolonged and significant flooding threats remain.
As the storm continues to unfold, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) is closely coordinating with its member companies and with the Department of Energy through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC). The ESCC is the principal liaison between senior industry and government officials.
This afternoon, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry convened a call with the CEOs of companies impacted by Hurricane Harvey to ensure that all resource needs are being met and that there is a touchpoint for further coordination should it be necessary as the storm evolves.
"We appreciate Secretary Perry's leadership in helping to coordinate the industry-government response for the electric power sector," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "Hurricane Harvey continues to create hazardous conditions in many communities, and we anticipate that this will be a long-duration event."
As of 6:00 p.m. EDT, approximately 264,000 customers in Texas and Louisiana are without power as a result of Harvey. In many areas, it is still not safe to begin damage assessment.
"Ensuring the safety of crews and customers is the top priority," said Kuhn. "In some areas, high winds, flooding, and downed trees are making roads impassable, delaying efforts to assess storm damage. As is always the case during restoration, crews will work around the clock to assess the overall damage to energy infrastructure and to restore power as safely and efficiently as possible to every customer who is able to receive it."
Electric companies in the path of Hurricane Harvey staged restoration workers and equipment in advance of the storm, and the industry's mutual assistance networks are activated. Thousands of additional lineworkers and other resources are being mobilized to assist companies that are affected by the storm.
"The mutual assistance network is truly a hallmark of our industry," said Kuhn. "I would like to thank all of the restoration workers for their hard work and dedication. I also know that affected companies appreciate the support and patience of their customers during this time."
As always, customers who see downed power lines should assume they are energized, stay away from them, and contact their local electric company. In flooded areas, customers should avoid standing water as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
EEI's Storm Center includes a map to company outage centers, as well as real-time information and updates on response and restoration progress. The Storm Center also includes storm safety tips, flood safety tips, and an overview of the response and restoration process. EEI's storm response team is available to answer any questions that reporters may have about mutual assistance and the restoration process. The latest updates from EEI can be found on Twitter and Facebook.
EEI is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies. Our members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, and operate in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a whole, the electric power industry supports more than 7 million jobs in communities across the United States. In addition to our U.S. members, EEI has more than 60 international electric companies, with operations in more than 90 countries, as International Members, and hundreds of industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members. Organized in 1933, EEI provides public policy leadership, strategic business intelligence, and essential conferences and forums.