Mississippi Power employees reflect on Hurricane Katrina
Ninety-five years and going strong! That’s how long Mississippi Power has been serving its customers, now including 190,000 customers in 23 Mississippi counties.
With the 15 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, and a possible deployment unfolding to help those ravished by Hurricane Laura, Mississippi Power officials, past and present, reflect and look forward.
Watching Hurricane Laura pound our neighbors to the west hits close to home for many of us, especially those of us who lived here in South Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, devastating our Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving us, including every single Mississippi Power customer in our area, in the dark.
Within 12 days, Mississippi Power had managed to get the lights back on. Retired Coast Division Manager Linda Watts said, “We know how to get the lights back on. We always have been good at that, but as time progressed, even in the first few days, it was evident that was going to be just a piece of what we were going to have do to recover from the storm.”
Sixteen million gallons of salt water flooded the basement of Plant Watson in Gulfport, which housed five generators. Retired Logistics Director Melvin Wilson said, “Unfortunately, Katrina was a larger hurricane than we had planned for, so we had to adapt our plan to Katrina. As you know we brought a lot of people to Mississippi to help us get the lights back on. I think by day three we already had 6,000 people working in our service territory. By day nine, that was nearly 12,000 people.”
There were plenty of lessons learned during and after Katrina, all now put to use in Mississippi Power’s current day strategy and planning. Cedrick Hurd with Mississippi Power said, “So the lessons learned from Katrina have certainly become a baseline part of our planning today.”
Mississippi Power President and CEO Anthony Wilson said, “Just know that all of the lessons learned from that event 15 years ago today we are applying today. I believe we are a better company now than then, and if another storm comes calling, we’re going to be ready.”
As evidenced by the Mississippi Power trucks and employees ready to deploy to help out our neighbors to the west in the wake and aftermath of Hurricane Laura.