More than 1400 employees and contractors from member companies of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas (AECT) have been working in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to restore electricity in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In addition, AECT companies and employees have pledged more than $3.3 million to the American Red Cross and the Power of Hope Fund -- a charity launched by Entergy, the largest electric company in Louisiana with operations also in Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas. Furthermore, hundreds of AECT member-company employees have volunteered their services at evacuee shelters and in other ways across Texas.
AECT member companies have sent another 1500 employees and contractors from national operations outside Texas to join Entergy's 10,000 field employees to help the massive restoration efforts.
Specifically, TXU sent 770 Texas employees and about 100 trucks to Louisiana, the largest of the AECT contingent. Entergy Texas provided 300 employees and AEP Texas sent 177 personnel from Texas and another 1329 from nationwide operations. AEP has sent a total of 350 trucks nationwide -- 60 from Texas -- to assist in the relief efforts.
CenterPoint Energy sent 150 Texas personnel and 87 trucks to Louisiana and Mississippi. Texas-New Mexico responded with 28 employees and 13 vehicles. El Paso Electric and Xcel Energy have crews prepared to deploy if requested, but to date requests have not yet been made of them to provide support. Reliant Energy does not have distribution crews.
"These men and women have worked under some of the worst conditions ever faced in responding to requests for support to bring power back on line in the damaged regions of the Gulf Coast," said John W. Fainter, Jr., president and CEO of AECT. "But from reports we have received from the field, the Texas crews have responded admirably and ably," he said. Crews include linemen, construction personnel and technical support staffs.
Fainter said Texas electric utility company officials and employees have also shown their support for the Katrina victims by giving or pledging $1,675,000 to the American Red Cross and $1,650,000 to the Power of Hope Fund. "These Texas companies and employees are restoring facilities and restoring lives," Fainter said.
Examples of volunteer efforts in Texas by AECT member-company employees include:
- CenterPoint Energy being responsible for logistics operations at Houston's George R. Brown Convention Center evacuee facility at the request of Mayor Bill White
- Reliant Energy employees being responsible for more than 5600 volunteer hours involving 1400 employees at Houston's evacuee centers, and providing 50 computers at shelters along with the technological personnel to operate the computers
- Xcel Energy employees volunteering to assist evacuees flown from New Orleans to the Amarillo Civic Center for shelter
- El Paso Electric employees volunteering to assist evacuees at the El Paso Civic Center
- Texas-New Mexico Power Company making available their payment centers and other facilities to be used as collection points for food and other emergency supplies
- TXU adopting 18 family members of Entergy employees, providing emergency care and donations from employees to completely furnish four households
- AEP Texas has held several Katrina fundraising events at its Corpus Christi headquarters and others are planned
AECT member companies include AEP Texas, CenterPoint Energy, El Paso Electric, Entergy Texas, Reliant Energy, Southwestern Electric Power Company, Texas-New Mexico Power Company, TXU and Xcel Energy.