DeSoto Parish residents say they’re dealing with frequent power outages; SWEPCO responds

(Cameron Crowe)
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 3:35 PM CDT

DESOTO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - There is just no hiding from the triple-digit temperatures impacting the ArkLaTex right now. Unfortunately, those in DeSoto Parish may be feeling the heat more than others.

People who live in Gloster, just outside of Stonewall, say they are dealing with frequent power outages that sometimes last for hours at a time.

Missi Lowery says in the past two and a half years, they have experienced 40 power outages at random and without warning.

She says her biggest concern is her health, the health of the elderly and trying to complete her work when this happens.

“I work from home, can’t plan when I work or how I work. As far as health problems, I have high blood pressure and this heat is horrible for me. Some of our neighbors, and elderly gentlemen, he’s got a lot of health problems and we have to worry about him,” said Lowery.

For business owner Matt Hill, he says it’s costing him a lot of money. He said at one time he had to throw away almost $700 worth of material.

“My bake schedule and when I’m operating in the kitchen are directly synced to when I get orders. If you call me before 11 a.m., I can do same-day delivery and bake it, package it, and process it and have it brought to you in the same day. Well, if I’m in the middle of baking at noon, the power goes down, I lose product, I lose material if the power is out for more than three or four hours, which happens frequently. I have to expose of certain things like butter, milk, heavy cream, eggs, because my licensure forces me to abide by certain control laws,” he said.

KSLA reached out to SWEPCO to see if they were aware of the issue and the cause of the outages. They responded with the following statement:

“SWEPCO is actively working to improve reliability issues in DeSoto Parish. We hosted an open house last week at the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Substation to discuss resident concerns and upcoming projects.

Over the last few years, SWEPCO has converted several hundred customers who remain on a legacy circuit to a newer one. In June, SWEPCO completed a two-year construction project to increase the capacity of our substation in Stonewall, so that it can handle more homes currently on the legacy circuit.

We are continuing more conversion projects over the next few years to improve the reliability of service in the area. Some of those projects include:

In the fourth quarter of 2022, SWEPCO will begin a series of projects estimated at $10 million to convert more than 500 customers along the Stonewall Frierson Road between Highway 171 and Linwood Extension and an area along Highway 171 south of Stanley Road.

SWEPCO will also begin a $23.6 million project in late 2022 to rebuild Kingston substation and the transmission line that feeds it, bringing reliability improvements to the customers served out of the Kingston substation. These projects are expected to be completed in two years.”

SWEPCO

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