Power factbox: Harvey's impact hampers grid restoration efforts

Houston (Platts)--29 Aug 2017 447 pm EDT/2047 GMT

As a result of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, widespread outages across Texas continue to suppress load Tuesday and poor weather conditions continue to hinder grid-restoration efforts, utility and Electric Reliability Council of Texas data showed.

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Hurricane Harvey five-day tropical storm prediction


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued Monday a proclamation allowing public utilities to enter and use private property and public easements to restore power to storm-stricken areas.

AEP Texas said Tuesday morning on its website that "assessment and restoration efforts have been hampered by the weather (e.g. inability to fly helicopters to assess impact on facilities, etc.), but the transmission team has been able to assess about 70% of its transmission equipment in the affected areas."

AEP Texas has restored 10 transmission lines and 20 transmission stations since the height of the storm, but has another 55 transmission lines and 44 stations still out of service.

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"Some transmission facilities will take longer than a week to restore," AEP Texas said.

AEP Texas estimates that it will have restored power to 95% of customers in Corpus Christi by 10 pm CDT Wednesday, but has yet to estimate restoration times for the Texas Gulf Coast towns of Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Fulton, Woodsboro, Port Lavaca, Lamar and Bayside.

"The devastation in those communities was the most extreme and will require the most amount of repairs," AEP Texas said. "A mandatory evacuation of Matagorda County earlier [Tuesday] means that an estimated time of restoration for Bay City has been put on hold, for now. Once the state-ordered evacuation is lifted, crews and assessors will be able to re-enter the area; complete their assessment; develop an ETR; and resume the overall restoration effort.

Restoration for all other cities and surrounding areas affected by the storm is expected to reach the 95% completion level by 10 pm Saturday September 2, if not sooner."

In a Tuesday morning email, Centerpoint Energy reported that over the course of the storm, it had restored power to more than 580,000 customers, including more 204,000 over the 24 hours ending at 8 am CDT Tuesday.

More than 70 additional repair crews arrived Monday and more than 100 more crews will arrive Wednesday, Centerpoint said.

"Our crews are responding to outages throughout our service territory where they can safely do so; unfortunately, Houston is continuing to experience catastrophic flooding and tropical-storm-force winds," Centerpoint said. "Our electric and natural gas crews cannot safely navigate all areas around the city to assess damage to our systems or restore power to customers in hard-hit areas ... therefore, we aren't able to say when any one area or another will have power restored. And until flood waters recede, we won't be able to give individual customer-restoration estimates."


Around 10 am CDT Tuesday, utilities serving the storm-affected areas reported nearly 292,000 customers without power:
  • AEP Texas (Corpus Christi, Texas area), 129,276
  • South Texas Electric Cooperative (rural Gulf Coast area), 15,987
  • Centerpoint Energy (Houston-Galveston), 105,903
  • Texas-New Mexico Power (suburban Houston), 7,485
  • Entergy Texas (East Texas), 29,637
  • Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans, 3,286
  • Cleco (central and eastern Louisiana), 36

An AEP Texas media release noted that about 220,000 customers were without power at the peak of the event, around 2 pm Saturday.


At about 9 am CDT Monday, ERCOT showed load in the storm-affected areas dropped about 33%, compared with the same period August 22, which was a hotter day when most industrial load was still operating.

The largest difference was in the Coastal Weather region -- around Houston and Galveston -- which was down 5,824 MW, or more than 43%, from the same period a week ago.

The next largest difference was in the South Central region -- including Austin and San Antonio -- down 1,382 MW, or more than 18%, from the same period a week ago.

The smallest absolute decrease was in the Southern Weather region, which was down 987 MW, or more than 27%, from August 21.

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