Austin Energy crews left this morning to provide outage restoration assistance to several areas hit by Hurricane Ike. The first stop will be Shreveport, Louisiana for three days and then on to Houston for another 11 days or so. Austin Energy crews had been prepared to leave yesterday but the affected areas are experiencing a severe shortage of available hotel rooms.
Austin Energy is sending 25 linemen with associated equipment, which includes six bucket trucks, several diggers (used to dig holes for the placement of power poles) and other equipment. Austin Energy crews will be working in neighborhoods and in most cases in areas where the electric system must be completely rebuilt. All Austin Energy linemen making the trip are volunteers. Most have assisted with outage restoration after large storms in other parts of Texas or other states.
Austin Energy participates with other utilities in Texas and surrounding states in the Texas Mutual Assistance Group. Group members provide restoration assistance to each other when disasters occur. This is the fifth mutual assistance response mission by Austin Energy crews over the past five years. In 2005, Austin Energy crews helped rebuild the electric systems destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana and East Texas.