Southeast Texas Customers Urged to Prepare, Make Safety Top Priority

Last week’s rains have become this week’s floods and personnel with Entergy Texas, Inc. are hard at work to ensure evacuees and other Southeast Texans will have safe and reliable power as the event unfolds.

“We’ve all heard the expression ‘water and electricity never mix’,” said Sallie Rainer, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Texas. “We ask our customers who may be affected by flooding to remember that, to stay safe and not to take shortcuts. The steps we’re taking to prepare our personnel and secure our electrical facilities start with safety first, along with careful planning. Please do the same for your family, friends and neighbors.”

Rainer also asked customers to be aware and take caution in areas where rising waters may come closer to power lines than normal.

Personnel worked through the weekend, patrolling Entergy facilities from the Hartburg community along the overflowing Sabine River to Orange. Protective measures were put in place at substations in danger of encroaching waters and lines that cross the river or its flooded tributaries were checked to ensure they were at a height sufficient to avoid the waters. Helicopter patrols have also been undertaken.

As a safety precaution, power has been cut to about 30 customers in areas under mandatory evacuation and that are now accessible only by boat. This step was necessary because floodwaters were dangerously close to electrical facilities. Entergy Texas considers this step only in extreme circumstances.

The floodwaters are the result of heavy rains that fell further north and dropped 18 inches of water on the Toledo Bend Reservoir, which is owned by the Sabine River Authority.

In Orange, forecasts call for the Sabine River to crest at 7.5 feet by Thursday, March 17. This is 1.6 feet above the flood level recorded in 1989 and 1.5 feet above the 6-foot level that is  considered a major flood.

Tips for dealing with flooding can be found in the “What to do After the Storm” section of Entergy Texas’ Operation Storm: Ready  guide, located within the Entergy Storm Center website.

Some of the information included in the tips are:

  • Return home only when authorities advise it, and drive only on roadways and bridges that have been declared passable.
  • Don’t walk in flooded areas or standing water. Remember that wet tree limbs can conduct electricity.
  • Be cautious when entering your home and watch for snakes, insects and other animals that may have been driven to higher ground by flood water.
  • If your electricity is off and you use a portable electric generator, do so only in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from Entergy’s service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or Entergy’s linemen working to restore power.
  • Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • If you do experience electrical issues, call 1-800-ENTERGY (368-3749).