Mississippi Power restoration update – Day 7

Six days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Mississippi Power employees and outside crews have now restored service to more than 44 percent of the company’s customers.

Outage numbers

“Power has now been restored to more than 74,000 of the company’s customers,” said Kurt Brautigam, company spokesman. “Service was restored to more than 13,000 customers Sunday and we were able to re-energize several additional substations, including Picayune, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, Richton, Poplarville, Shubuta and Carriere.

“We should see lights coming on in those areas today, as we’ve had crews working for several days to rebuild distribution lines. We expect to see more progress in all of the other areas we’ve been rebuilding.”

Workers were also able to connect two major transmission lines, strengthening and stabilizing the backbone of the power delivery system. “It will take months to restore our system to conditions where it will operate normally,” Brautigam said. “But the work we accomplished yesterday was a large step towards further stabilizing the system as we continue to restore service for more and more of our customers.”

Transmission service to substations serving the company’s wholesale rural electric customers continued to be restored Sunday. The few remaining delivery points are expected to be completed in the next day or two.

More workers continue to arrive in the area to assist with Mississippi Power’s rebuilding efforts. “We expect to have more than 9,200 outside workers by the time this process is complete,” Brautigam said. “We’re actually re-evaluating our projected restoration time frames because we’re seeing such significant progress. Everyone’s morale and productivity has been remarkable.

“As we continue to move forward it’s important for our customers to stay patient and safe. As more service is restored, they need to be aware of downed lines and stay away from them.”

Mississippi Power’s outage reporting line: 800-ITS-DARK (800-487-3275).

Customer restoration totals by division as of 6 a.m. 9/4/05:
Coast 22,281 30%
Pine Belt 23,534 40%
Meridian 28,503 76%

As always, safety is the first priority in any storm restoration effort. Here are some important storm-related tips for customers to consider:

  • Mississippi Power gives priority to hospitals, water and sewer treatment facilities, police, fire and other critical customers for the overall safety and well-being of the community at large. Individuals with critical medical needs should consider making contingency plans in case power outages last for an extended period of time.

  • SAFETY FIRST! Stay away from downed lines. Warn others to do the same. Beware of lines that are touching a vehicle. Stay away from the vehicle and the line. Do not drive over lines lying on the road, and do not drive under low hanging lines. Keep children and pets away from downed lines. Always assume a downed power line is live. Do not attempt to remove tree limbs or anything else caught in power lines. Call Mississippi Power at 800-ITS-DARK (800-487-3275) or a local law enforcement agency if downed lines are spotted.

  • Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and to Mississippi Power employees working on the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances – such as freezers and refrigerators – directly to the generator.

  • To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area that is away from air intakes to the home and protected from direct exposure to rain or snow. A good location is an open shed, under a canopy or a carport. Never use a portable generator indoors or in attached garages.

  • Most small gasoline powered generators purchased at home improvement stores are designed for appliances to be plugged directly into them rather than plugging the generator into the home`s wiring. Be sure to use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge that is adequate for the appliance load. If you need to connect a generator directly to your home wiring, it should be done by a qualified electrical contractor, and a switch to disconnect your home wiring from the utility system should be installed and used before connecting the generator.

  • Having a generator connected directly to household wiring without this switch can result in power from your generator feeding back into utility wires, creating a deadly threat to you, your neighbors and to repair crews.

  • If there is damage to your meter box or the pole on top of your meter box, you must first have an electrician make repairs before Mississippi Power can restore your service.

  • If there is flooding in your home or business, Mississippi Power may be unable to restore electric service until the building is inspected by city or county code officials.

  • Please be patient. Crews restoring service will work as fast as safety allows. Before neighborhood lines can be restored, Mississippi Power crews must first repair substations and larger lines that bring power to neighborhoods.

    Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, serves 195,000 customers in 23 Southeast Mississippi counties. For more information and daily updates on the company’s progress toward restoring service, go to www.mississippipower.com.

    With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company and a competitive retail natural gas business, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Visit the Southern Company Web site at www.southerncompany.com.