June 2, 2020—Last week, the Hill Country experienced three severe thunderstorms that swept through the Kerrville Public Utility Board’s (KPUB) service area, resulting in waves of customers losing their power throughout the week’s timespan. After crews spent a long Memorial Day weekend restoring power to over 3,000 customers from storm-related outages, the Kerrville area experienced large amounts of hail, high winds and frequent lightning during a highly damaging storm again on Wednesday evening that left over 5,000 customers without power at the peak of the storm—nearly 25% of KPUB’s customers.
With hundreds of outages all across KPUB’s service area primarily from broken trees, downed power lines and downed utility poles, the community-owned utility assessed the damages and issued a call for help by requesting mutual assistance from neighboring utilities around 2 a.m. on Thursday morning.
The City of Seguin Utilities, City of Boerne Utilities, Central Texas Electric Cooperative and the City of Fredericksburg all responded to help KPUB’s crews restore power to its customers. Contract line workers and tree crews were called in as well to expedite the power restoration process. With all of the help brought in, KPUB’s power outage restoration team was quadrupled in size, with close to 100 personnel working to restore power to the area. As crews were in the middle of restoring outages on Thursday from the previous night’s storm, a third storm for the week rolled in that afternoon, causing even more outages and additional customers to lose power.
“This was KPUB’s first time in our 33 years of history ever to issue a call for mutual aid,” said Mike Wittler, general manager & CEO of KPUB. “We have answered the call ourselves to restore power for other areas, and are so grateful to the utilities who helped us during this time. We thank the community for their patience while the crews worked to restore power as quickly and as safely as they could.”
KPUB General Foreman, Larry Lee, who has been with the utility since before the City of Kerrville purchased it from LCRA, said that Wednesday night’s storm was one of the worst storms—if not the worst—he has seen in regards to damages to KPUB’s service area and utility equipment. Overall, during the week’s storm events, line crews worked around the clock to restore 362 individual power outages to 23,766 customers and replaced a total of 30 utility poles. Power was restored to all of KPUB’s customers by 3:13 p.m. on Saturday.
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