Post-hurricane Service Restoration Challenged by Covid-19 Restrictions
image credit: Crews from Jeff Davis Electric Cooperative restore power after Hurricane Delta. Credit Jeff Davis EC
- Oct 29, 2020 4:03 pm GMTOct 29, 2020 1:26 pm GMT
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Louisiana’s electric cooperatives faced multiple service restoration efforts following Hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta, which hit the state over the period of several weeks this fall.
In the case Delta, Jeff Davis Electric Cooperative and Beauregard Electric Cooperative Inc. were hit the hardest, losing 100% power for the second time in about six weeks.
Hundreds of co-op lineworkers representing a dozen states and organized by the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives helped to restore power in less than a week.
Receiving the out-of-state crews was complicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news report from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. For example, more tents were required for visiting lineworkers to ensure social distancing—only 300 people could be housed in tents meant for 600. The co-op also had to find parking places for up to 1,200 trucks instead of 400 during Laura because crew members can’t ride in the same truck.
Jeff Davis EC had restored power to about 75% of its system when Delta hit The system was back up to about 50% power on Oct. 14 and to nearly 80% power by Oct. 18. Beauregard EC completed its restoration work by Oct. 16.
During Hurricane Laura, about 4,000 of Beauregard’s power poles were knocked to the ground. In contrast, Delta brought down only about 50. However, Delta soaked parts of the service territory requiring the co-op to use airboats and off-road vehicles to reach flooded areas where repairs were needed.
Jeff Davis EC lost nearly 100 miles of transmission line as a result of Laura and had just started rebuilding when Delta hit.
After Laura, about 1,200 out-of-state lineworkers came to help Beauregard EC. Another 750 came to help Jeff Davis EC.