AEP Texas
Port Aransas

Hurricane Blog: Crews Confront Challenges During Restoration

Sept. 28, 2017
Storm response often presents many challenges to line crews. By working together and gaining support from their companies, however, field crews can often overcome these obstacles.

During storm response, linemen often work long shifts and battle extreme weather conditions. Following Hurricane Harvey and Irma, line crews faced many challenges out in the field. Here are some of the top obstacles they faced during the restoration and how they overcame them. 

Challenge #1: Droves of mosquitos. To battle the pesky insects during the restoration, linemen slathered themselves with bug repellant and tucked mosquito nets over their hard hats. In fact, AEP Texas ordered thousands of mosquito nets on through an overnight shipment. 

Challenge #2: Working in standing water. Linemen wore waders in standing water, but even still, they had to be wary of any unseen dangers such as alligators, snakes, or debris. "There were two-by-fours with nails in them, sharp pieces of tin siding, and a lot of other debris you would expect to find after high winds knocked houses over," says Tom Coad, vice president of distribution operations for AEP Texas. 

Challenge #3: Accessing restoration zones. Oftentimes, the broken poles were located in muddy, wet fields or swamped areas. As a result, crews relied upon tracked equipment, backyard machines, specialized equipment such as Marsh Masters, and air boats to reach their desired location. In addition, several of the impacted utilities used drones and helicopters to fly over the damage and help with the assessment of the destruction. 

About the Author

Amy Fischbach | Amy Fischbach, EUO Contributing Editor

Amy Fischbach is the contributing editor for the Electric Utility Operations section of Transmission and Distribution World. She worked for Prism Business Media (now Penton) for eight years, most recently as the managing editor of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro magazine. She is now working as a freelance writer and editor for B2B magazines. Amy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.She serves as the national vice president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. She can be reached at [email protected].

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