Southeast U.S. Utility

Twenty DRG technicians were called in to perform a post-storm walkthrough on over 90,000 poles in Lake Charles, Louisiana after Hurricane Laura caused severe damage to a local utility’s transmission and distribution systems.

The Challenge

Hurricane Laura hit the Lake Charles, Louisiana area in August 2020. With maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour and severe flooding, the category 4 hurricane was the strongest storm to hit Louisiana since 1856.

The flooding and wind caused serious damage to the area, including the transmission and distribution systems of a local utility. The damage caused by Hurricane Laura and subsequent system repairs created significant inaccuracies in the utility’s GIS inventory, an essential tool to keep track of equipment and repairs.

The Solution

Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) was called in to help, and quickly gathered a team of 20 GIS technicians from outside service areas to perform a post-storm walkthrough. During this walkthrough, the technicians used both vehicle patrols and boots-on-the-ground teams to record and report new field conditions and existing safety hazards, and compliance violations.

The technicians collected data on 97,509 poles and 93 feeders. When the data collection was completed at the end of February 2021, Davey’s GIS quality control team reviewed the data and packaged it for the utility.

The Results

The technician team reported 2,600 safety concerns to the utility, including downed poles, downed lines, abandoned equipment, and equipment that still required repairs.

The data delivered to the utility allowed them to have the latest information about their equipment on hand for quick reference while finishing up repair work from Hurricane Laura. The utility appreciated Davey’s ability to gather crews on short notice to perform the data collection.

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