Hurricanes: This We Know …
Power company facilities almost surely will be affected by tropical storms or hurricanes that strike their areas.
The intensity and duration of a storm are key to how much impact there will be and Texas-New Mexico Power is experienced in preparing for these events. Still, it's impossible to know:
- which facilities will be affected;
- how much damage to our facilities there may be;
- how many customers will be without power;
- how long affected customers will be without power.
TNMP encourages the more than 125,000 customers it serves in Galveston and Brazoria counties to include in their hurricane season annual preparations anything they may need if they are to be without power for many days.
Not all customers may be affected, but they are encouraged to assume that they could be.
"Our Gulf Coast teams have been through a few storms over the years," TNMP President Neal Walker says. "We can gauge our general needs for staging extra people, equipment and materials before the storm moves in.
"Even with that experience and those resources, there are so many variables that we can't know what the impact could be on our facilities or our customers."
While the impact that a storm may have on our system is difficult to predict, 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, including that:
- 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 that they won't turn back on immediately 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
- We will delay restoration efforts in any given location if it's necessary to protect the safety of the public or our employees.
- 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.
- If a storm has significant impact on a region, additional updates may be published on our Twitter (@tnmp) and Facebook (@texasnewmexicopower) pages, along with TNMP.com.
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
TNMP is a transmission and distribution service provider that delivers power to about 255,000 homes and businesses on behalf of retail electric providers in Texas. More information is available at tnmp.com/about.
Eric Paul: 409-949-5685