BECi continues to restore meters in the face of Beta

After restoring over 80% of membership, the co-op battles more rain from Beta.
Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 1:27 PM CDT|Updated: 6 hours ago
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DERIDDER, La. (BECi) - As of September 23, these are the current outage totals.

BECi updates for September 23
BECi updates for September 23(BECi)

After Hurricane Laura had 43,000 BECi members in the dark, the co-op is in the homerun stretch of its restoration efforts. After three weeks, BECi, who has restored power to 35,000 meters, is now facing increased outage numbers due to Tropical Storm Beta.

“The US National Weather Center is predicting a week full of rain,” said BECi General Manager Kevin Turner. “This will mean that some members will once again be without power and our restoration work will be slowed.”

The co-op has already begun to feel the effects of Tropical Storm Beta. Daily meter restoration has dropped from 2,000 meters restored per day to 700. BECi attributes the large amount of rain associated with Beta causing trees and poles that were compromised during Hurricane Laura to fall and cause another round of outages.

“A large rain-making storm is the last thing you want after experiencing the wind speeds from a Category Four hurricane,” said Turner. “But linemen are still working and unless they are in a dangerous situation with lightening and high winds – we’re going to keep working. Working in the rain is a big part of what we do and we know how to do it quickly and safely.”

Standard safety policy states that crews will refrain from aerial and restoration work if lightning is present or if winds reach 40 mph. As of noon on September 23, crews have yet to completely halt work due to unsafe conditions.

Despite complications from Tropical Storm Beta, BECi is making strong headway in the number of reenergized meters to the north and east portion of its service area where linemen are beginning the final stages of restoration – repairing damages to service and tap lines that feed individual homes and businesses. In the south part of BECi’s service territory, crews continue to complete repairs to distribution lines while other crews make repairs to service and tap lines.

"The number one thing we want our members to know is that we are not going to stop working, "said Turner. “We want the lights back on as much as our members do. We ask that our members continue to be patient with us as we deal with the curve balls that Mother Nature throws at us.”

All calls and questions regarding the work to rebuild BECi’s system should be directed to the main office in DeRidder:

  • To report an outage through our toll-free automated outage-reporting system, dial (888) 367-0275.
  • To speak to a customer service representative, dial (337) 463-6221 or (800)367-0275.

Additional safety tips include:

  • Stay away from downed wires. Always assume they are energized. Contact the co-op to report downed wires or an outage.
  • Do not clear any right-of-way to personal property until electric cooperatives clear the right-of-way for you. There are numerous life-threatening hazards as well as potential to do more damage to our system. Please wait until your cooperative is available to clear a path for you.
  • Do not pile debris near utility equipment.
  • Under no circumstances should a meter be removed or pulled. It is illegal to tamper with a meter because it creates other safety hazards.
  • Avoid crews working in the street. This will keep you and the crews safe and allow them to work on restoring your power.

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Copyright 2020 BECi. All rights reserved.

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