SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell is calling for an emergency communications system for electric utility outages that occur across Louisiana.
Campbell wants all electric utilities in Louisiana to send automated telephone and text messages to customers when outages occur.
"The system I have in mind would let customers know when their power is out and when it will be back on," Campbell said.
"Storms and power outages are an unfortunate reality in our state. With modern forms of communication, power companies can tell customers what they need to know quickly so they can plan their response to the emergency."
Campbell said the Entergy power companies already have implemented such a system in their Louisiana territories. He said he will ask all electric utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission to do likewise at the PSC's August 6 meeting in Baton Rouge. They'll study it for about a month, and he is hoping for a vote on it in September and would like to see it implemented as early as Thanksgiving, and no later than Christmas.
"I want customers to get a telephone call or text message when their power goes out. The message would give an expected restoration time, keep customers updated during the outage, and state the cause of the outage once power is restored."
Campell's news conference on the subject came Friday afternoon, following storms that brought high winds and widespread power outages across the ArkLaTex on Wednesday. At peak, nearly 70,000 SWEPCO customers were without power. as of 2:30 p.m. Friday, some 3,500 customers remained without power.