Hurricane Season: Review Power Outage Plans
Texas-New Mexico Power has completed its annual high-level planning due to the possibility of tropical storms or hurricanes affecting its Gulf Coast service territory.
Preparations for the 2018 hurricane season got under way just a few months after restoration efforts were completed after Hurricane Harvey struck the area and knocked out power at least once each for about 78,000 TNMP-served customers.
"We learn things every time tropical weather strikes our area," TNMP President Neal Walker said. "One lesson we were reminded about last year is that no storm will perfectly conform to any plan. Being prepared to adjust, like we did for Harvey, always will be critical."
TNMP serves more than 125,000 homes and businesses in its Gulf Coast service area, including parts of Brazoria and Galveston counties. See list below or see map of TNMP Gulf Coast service area.
Impacts on Our System & Customers
The impact that a storm may have on our system is difficult to predict, but lengthy power outages often can result.
Winds can damage equipment directly, along with broken and blowing tree limbs contacting wires and other equipment. Lightning strikes also are common causes of outages.
Flooding resulting from tropical storms also could impact service:
- employees potentially could be unable to reach and/or repair equipment.
- power in areas with underground service may need to be turned off by us to ensure public safety.
Important Tips for Customers
If a tropical storm or hurricane is forecasted to make landfall near you:
- Prepare for the possibility that you could be without power for days (not hours).
- If someone in your home is dependent upon powered medical equipment, confirm your backup plan at the beginning of the hurricane season and confirm it when a storm may be in the forecast.
- Stock up on batteries and check flashlights well in advance.
- Stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food well in advance; include a manual can opener.
- Make a plan for your mobile phone, including turning it on only periodically if power is out and getting a backup energy source (battery-operated devices or a car charger).
- Teach everyone in your home to stay far away from any downed power lines and equipment.
- Assume that every line is energized and deadly, even if power is out in the area.
- Call 911 if there's an immediate threat to public safety, then call us at 888-866-7456.
- If power goes out while operating appliances, please put them in the "off" position so they won't turn back on when power is restored.
- These can include electric stovetops, curling irons or any appliance that you wouldn't want running unsupervised.
- Customers whose homes or businesses are at imminent risk of flooding may wish to turn off the main switch on their breaker boxes to cut power and reduce risk to building occupants.
Portable Generator Safety Tips
- Check the manufacturer's safety warnings in advance.
- Set up and run well away from a home or business due to the risk of carbon monoxide being pulled in from outside.
- Directly power only individual appliances and not your entire home or business.
How Power Restoration Is Prioritized
Highest priority repairs that will be made serve critical facilities, including hospitals, water-treatment plants and sewer lift stations.
Subsequent repairs are prioritized for restoration via a triage approach that focuses first on restoring the largest numbers of customers still out. While we appreciate that it can be frustrating, outage repairs that will restore smaller numbers of customers, including single homes, will be worked later in the process.
Areas where trees and overhead lines are in close proximity often can take longer because of the time required to cut trees from the lines before damaged equipment can be repaired.
During storm-restoration work, our tree trimmers will leave trimmed branches on customer property.
Entire circuits may be restored, but some customers served by those circuits still may be without power due to damage on a smaller, local scale. This scenario can be block-to-block or even house-to-house.
How Customers Can Get Information
If TNMP's system is impacted significantly by a tropical storm or hurricane, we plan to publish general, high-level estimates about when we expect power to be restored.
We'll be unable to provide details about specific areas of a given city or neighborhood. All estimates will be based on latest available damage assessments and will be subject to change.
Estimates and updates will be provided via our automated customer phone system: 888-866-7456.
Gulf Coast Communities Served by TNMP
- Bailey's Prairie
- Holiday Lakes
- La Marque
- League City
- Old Ocean
- Pearland (small portion of town)
- Texas City
- West Columbia
Texas-New Mexico Power is a transmission and distribution service provider that delivers power to about 245,000 homes and businesses on behalf of retail electric providers in Texas. More information is available at tnmp.com/about-us.
Eric Paul: 409-949-5685