Governor Abbott Proclaims Utility Companies To Repair Service In Wake Of Hurricane Harvey
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:
WHEREAS, I, GREG ABBOTT, Governor of the State of Texas, did issue a disaster proclamation on Wednesday, August 23, 2017, certifying that Tropical Depression Harvey posed a threat of imminent disaster in specified counties in Texas; and
WHEREAS, Tropical Depression Harvey has since been upgraded to a hurricane which struck the Texas coast on Friday, August 25, 2017, causing substantial destruction in South, East and Central Texas; and
WHEREAS, extensive damage in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey has caused widespread power outages that currently hinder the delivery of emergency services and recovery efforts; and
WHEREAS, the expeditious restoration of electrical services is crucial for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Texas, and for the preservation of life and property in the recovery efforts from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey; and
WHEREAS, Texas Government Code, Section 418.017, provides that the Governor may use all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with a disaster; temporarily reassign resources, personnel, or functions of state executive departments and agencies or their units for the purpose of performing or facilitating emergency services; and use any private property necessary to cope with the disaster.
NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 418.017 of the Texas Government Code, I do hereby order the following:
Temporary Utility Connections. Utilities located in the State of Texas and regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas are hereby authorized to make temporary connections at the distribution and transmission level, voltages such as 12.5 kV, 13.2 kV, 25 kV, 34.5 kV, 69 kV, 138 kV, 230 kV, and 345 kV to restore power to electric service providers, electric cooperatives, and municipal customers within the State of Texas. This temporary action will allow faster restoration of critical infrastructure facilities and other customers that have been without power as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
Authorization to Enter and Use Property. Those utilities are hereby authorized to enter and use private property as necessary for the limited purpose of connecting power lines and reconstructing the electric utility grid, including but not limited to establishing temporary above-ground and underground power lines, switching and transforming facilities, and transporting materials and equipment necessary to the restoration of electrical power.
Protection of Private Property Rights. Those utilities are further directed to undertake the restoration effort in a manner that maximizes the use of existing state and local government resources, easements, and property to preserve the property and privacy rights of affected Texans to the greatest extent possible.
Public Easements. State and local political subdivisions and special districts are hereby directed to temporarily provide full and complete access to existing highway, utility, and other public easements and state-owned or controlled land for these same purposes, and for only the duration in which this specific declaration remains in effect.
This proclamation shall continue in effect as long as a state of emergency and the Emergency Disaster Proclamation previously issued remains in effect, unless rescinded earlier by my order.
In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 28th day of August, 2017.