PINEVILLE, La. – Aug. 27, 2020 (7 p.m.) – While still assessing the damage to its electrical system, Cleco crews have restored power to 31,205 customers. At the height of the storm, Hurricane Laura knocked out power to 140,000 customers, causing widespread, significant damage to Cleco’s electrical system. According to weather forecasts, Laura made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane early Thursday morning. Experts say it’s one of the most powerful hurricanes to strike the Gulf Coast in decades. Cleco’s hardest hit parishes were Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Grant, Rapides and Vernon. “We’re surveying the damage, which is massive. There are lots of broken poles and crossarms, damaged transformers, downed wire and trees on the ground. Tree damage plays a major role in storm restoration because the debris has to be cleared before we can start repairing and replacing our equipment,” said James Lass, director of distribution operations and emergency management. “This will be a massive restoration effort.”
Cleco has a combined work force of more than 2,000 working to get the lights back on. Crews will work late into the night, but many customers will be without power overnight. “We understand this is difficult, and we’re doing everything we can to restore power as quickly and safely as possible,” said Lass. “We appreciate our customers’ patience, as we still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we will get through this together.”
Safety tips to follow after a storm:
· Report power outages by calling 1-800-622-6537 or by texting “OUT” from your cell phone to 25326 (Cleco). To sign up for text message notifications, text “REG” to 25326.
· Operate portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas and plug appliances directly into generators with grounded extension cords. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
· Assume all downed power lines are live and stay away. Report downed power lines immediately by calling 1-800-622-6537 and 911.
· If water is rising, turn off electricity at the main breaker, evacuate and stay away until waters have completely receded.