South Bossier City residents wired up about frequent power outages

Updated: Jul. 30, 2018 at 9:27 PM CDT
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(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - AEP/SWEPCO customers in South Bossier are all wired up about being left in the dark by power outages.

"452 houses were affected in this neighborhood last night," Bossier City resident Donald Miller said.

Sunday's storm knocked out his electricity, he said, forcing him and his wife to sleep in a hotel.

"We just moved here from Lafayette, Louisiana. And we've gone through major hurricanes, major floods and never lost power. And this little rainstorm comes through, and we lose power for 24 hours."

Miller and other KSLA News 12 viewers say power outages in that section of the city are common.

"It's an analog system right now, so that means if there is a fault, if there is a vehicle accident on this portion of this line, it's going to block out the line," AEP/SWEPCO spokeswoman Carey Sullivan explained. That disrupts service to everyone.

But smart switches will isolate future incidents, meaning one outage will impact fewer customers, she said.

"We had a few times this spring where we had two-vehicle accidents several days in a row," she said.

"So with smart switches, these would talk to each other and they would talk to other switches in the line so they would open up, isolate the outage and leave other customers on," Sullivan said of the new devices.

The project is part of a three-year, $18 million plan to help ease frustrations about frequent outages.

The circuit spanning from CenturyLink Center in south Bossier City to homes and businesses along Airline Drive near Interstate 220 will be the first to get the switches.

That section of the project is estimated to cost $6 million.

Meantime, South Bossier's Miller says the power outages are bad enough that he is picking up and moving to another part of town.

Where is he thinking about going?

"North Bossier. ... From everyone I spoke to in the area, they say the power lines up there are underground and they don't lose power."

AEP/SWEPCO says the smart switches will be installed by the end of the year.

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