Beaumont, Texas – Last week’s rains have become this week’s floods and personnel with Entergy Texas, Inc. are hard at work to ensure evacuees and other Southeast Texans will have safe and reliable power as the event unfolds.
“We’ve all heard the expression 'water and electricity never mix'," said Sallie Rainer, president and chief executive officer of Entergy Texas. "We ask our customers who may be affected by flooding to remember that, to stay safe and not to take shortcuts. The steps we're taking to prepare our personnel and secure our electrical facilities start with safety first, along with careful planning. Please do the same for your family, friends and neighbors."
Rainer also asked customers to be aware and take caution in areas where rising waters may come closer to power lines than normal.
Personnel worked through the weekend, patrolling Entergy facilities from the Hartburg community along the overflowing Sabine River to Orange. Protective measures were put in place at substations in danger of encroaching waters and lines that cross the river or its flooded tributaries were checked to ensure they were at a height sufficient to avoid the waters. Helicopter patrols have also been undertaken.
As a safety precaution, power has been cut to about 30 customers in areas under mandatory evacuation and that are now accessible only by boat. This step was necessary because floodwaters were dangerously close to electrical facilities. Entergy Texas considers this step only in extreme circumstances.
The floodwaters are the result of heavy rains that fell further north and dropped 18 inches of water on the Toledo Bend Reservoir, which is owned by the Sabine River Authority.
In Orange, forecasts call for the Sabine River to crest at 7.5 feet by Thursday, March 17. This is 1.6 feet above the flood level recorded in 1989 and 1.5 feet above the 6-foot level that is considered a major flood.
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Entergy Texas, Inc. delivers electricity to more than 430,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.