LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - After restoring power to more than 25,000 customers over the last three weeks, Beauregard Electric (BECi) has surpassed the 50 percent mark.
Though nearly 18,000 customers are still without power, BECi considers the milestone an achievement considering 100 percent were without electricity at the height of outages.
“I know it gets aggravating, your neighbor’s got power and air conditioner and you don’t, but it does take a while." said General Manager Kevin Turner.
He says it can take a half day’s work to restore two poles at any given home. It’s a slow process made even more difficult during a pandemic.
“Usually there are two men to a truck, but because of the COVID from other states, there’s one man per truck. So now you’ve got twice as many trucks to park, twice as many trucks to put fuel in,” said Turner.
Logistical issues mixed with the worst damage to the utility system in its history is tough enough, but one of the biggest concerns for crews is the Southwest Louisiana temperatures,
“The heat has been really tough on them. We’ve had some heat exhaustion, went to the hospital, had to get them some IVs, and get them back going, but the heat has been really a concern here.”
That said, Beauregard Electric is confident they are on schedule.
“We think we will have it back on in two weeks. That’s for the ones that can take power. There are some members have a lot of damage to their homes who will not be able to take power at that time, but the majority will be on in probably two weeks,” Turner explained.
After power restoration is complete, Turner says engineers will sit down to examine what best withstood the storm.
“We had some cement poles and they crumbled. We had some steel poles and they crumbled. We had some wood poles and a lot of them have stood up,” Turner said.
They’re taking Hurricane Laura as a learning experience to best prepare for storms ahead.
Some customers had specific questions for BECi today, here’s our Q&A with General Manager Kevin Turner:
Why does the outage map show my street in green, but I don’t have power? It’s hard to pinpoint a specific home or meter on the map. It normally shows the overall street or general area. That said, it could be that the map is not up to date at the moment you looked at it, or there could be an issue specifically with your home’s ability to accept power being fed to your neighborhood.
I have partial power at my home - some lights work, others don’t - what should I do? First, check your breaker box. Look to see if any breakers are flipped and try resetting those areas of your home that aren’t working. If that doesn’t do the trick, you should contact an electrician or your utility company for someone to check out the issue.
How do we know if our electronics have been damaged by a power surge? Unfortunately, the best way to find out is to plug them back in for a test run when your power is restored.
There’s a limb down on a utility line, who should remove that? When it comes to electricity - don’t go near it unless you are a professional. If a tree took down power lines at your home BECi, or other crew, will remove the tree from the line in order to restore power. That said, the tree itself is the home owner’s responsibility to remove from the property. On the same note, if an old line, power pole, or transformer has fallen in your yard, it will be picked up. Crews are working in “restoration” mode, so they may not remove the old pole when power is restored, instead, they’ll come back at a later time to remove that debris.
What do the out-of-state crews think of the South? While Turner couldn’t say for sure, he did say they were introduced to lovebugs and they hate them almost of much as we all do.