A team of specially trained Alabama Power personnel left at dawn today for Texas with a convoy of boats and special equipment to help Houston-based CenterPoint Energy restore power in the devastated city.
The team of 20 employees are taking with them two airboats, two Marsh Master track vehicles and jon boats. The employees will coordinate with local CenterPoint Energy crews in the Houston area who are working to repair damage to the grid caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The equipment comes from Alabama Power’s Transmission and Environmental Affairs organizations, which also are supplying the trained personnel. The team and equipment, which are from the Birmingham and Mobile areas, are expected to arrive in the Houston area on Friday.
“We are glad that we can help assist CenterPoint Energy and the people of Houston who are suffering from this disaster,” said Pam Boyd, Power Delivery Services general manager.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Houston and everyone along the Gulf Coast where Harvey has had such a terrible impact,” said Markell Heilbron, Environmental Affairs general manager.
Harvey dumped record-setting amounts of water on the east Texas Gulf Coast, topping 50 inches in some places. The storm is now producing heavy rains in Louisiana, Mississippi and south Alabama, but in the Houston area, major rivers are still rising and more precipitation is expected this weekend.
This morning, CenterPoint Energy reported it has restored power to more than 713,000 customers since Harvey first began to affect its service territory on Friday. While the vast majority of the company’s customers who can take service have had power restored, flooding and wet conditions have hampered recovery in some areas. The Alabama Power team and equipment will help CenterPoint crews speed repairs in still-flooded, wet or marshy areas.
The Southern Company Charitable Foundation has pledged $100,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in Harvey relief efforts. Southern Company also has established a donation matching program for employees and retirees. Alabama Power is a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company.