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Energy & Environment

Austin Energy Took A $600,000 Hit From Harvey – So Far

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Austin Price for KUT
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Mark Hastings watches as an Austin Energy crew restores power to his office building near North Lamar and 12th Street on Aug. 26. A tree fell through electrical wires during Tropical Storm Harvey.

When it comes to Hurricane Harvey, Austin got off easy compared to other cities. The storm proved challenging for the city’s electric grid, however: About 79,000 customers lost power, and the city's electric utility is still tallying the cost.

Harvey made August the wettest month on record in Austin. But it was the winds that damaged the grid, forcing utility crews to play whack-a-mole with outages, responding to one as others popped up.

"It happened all over," says Lauren Hammond, a spokesperson for Austin Energy. "The winds just took down power lines and other equipment all throughout the service area." 

All told, she says, the utility repaired 600 downed power lines and had to replace 50 utility poles.

The publicly owned utility estimates the cost to be about $600,000 so far in material and overtime.

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