Crisis Response Efforts Recognized

Multichannel News published this week a round up of five tips on how to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, like Hurricanes Ike and Gustav.

Suddenlink was featured prominently under the second and third tips: “Become part of the local response team” and “Take care of your people.”

Updates: Hanna & Gustav

UPDATE 1:15 pm CT, 9/6/08: Suddenlink’s customers, employees, and cable systems in eastern North Carolina were fortunate: Tropical Storm Hanna had a minimal impact on the region.

“In addition to some single-home service calls, we have minor outages in a few neighborhoods, largely related to commercial power that we expect will be resolved before the end of the day,” Region Vice President Phil Ahlschlager reported in an email.

He added: “We’re still having a few rain showers, and wind is robust but decreasing, now around 15 to 20 mile per hours. There may be a few more downed lines and/or outages as the day goes on, but we should be able to respond quickly.”

Repairs also continue in the areas affected by Gustav earlier in the week.




UPDATE 10:45 am CT, 9/5/08: Tropical Storm Hanna continues to threaten the North Carolina coast. Suddenlink provides service in several eastern N.C. communities, including Rocky Mount, Greenville, and New Bern. Local crews are hoping for the best, but (to be on the safe side) preparing for the worst.

Elsewhere, post-Gustav cleanup continues in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Updates follow for the largest affected Suddenlink communities:

Alexandria, La. — The power company is making steady progress, and Suddenlink customers’ modems are coming back online. Our crews are close behind the power-company crews and will restore outages as quickly and efficiently as circumstances allow.

Bastrop, La. — Crews have identified two more spans of cable down in Mer Rouge. Repairs continue.

Jonesboro, La. — The larger generator (delivered from Conway, Ark.) was expected to be up and running at the “headend” facility this morning.

Hot Springs Village, Ark. — The situation steadily improves as power-company crews restore electricity. More than 65% of the cable system should be operational at this point, though there were still a number of areas without power last night.

Russellville, Ark. — Several generators are in place, feeding back-up power supplies. Suddenlink crews are working in tandem with power-company crews.

Greenville, Miss. — Nearly all of the cable plant is operational, with one subdivision still to be restored as of last night.




UPDATE 2:00 pm CT, 9/4/08: Circumstances have improved for Suddenlink cable systems in southern Arkansas and central Louisiana. “Business as usual” was the report this morning from the majority of cable systems in those areas — but despite progress, much work remains to be done.

Alexandria, La., remains the Suddenlink community hit hardest by Gustav. Repairs continue at a steady pace despite challenges securing gasoline and certain other supplies. On a positive note, flood waters in the area are receding.

Bastrop, La., was also badly hit, with some cable lines still on the ground this morning, though everything was expected to be operational today.

The Jonesboro, La., “headend” facility will likely be without commercial power for two weeks, pending the power company reaching its location. In the meantime, the facility is operating on generator power, with a larger generator scheduled for delivery from Conway, Ark., to keep the Jonesboro, La., headend up and running until commercial power can be restored.

Crews are making progress in Hot Springs Village, Ark. A major power company is bringing back crews (which had been sent to Louisiana) to help tackle an estimated 70,000 electric power outages in Arkansas, nearly 40 percent of which are thought to be in the Little Rock/Hot Springs Village area.

Russellville, Ark., is still operating some areas on generator power, but contractors were expected to be cleared for repairs this morning, with power-company crews already in the area making their repairs.

Greenville, Miss., is experiencing flooding and power outages. The city is under four feet of water and two employees’ homes have been flooded.

Other severely affected cable systems include LeCompte, Moreauville, New Iberia, St. Joseph, and Ville Platte, La.




UPDATE 6:03 pm CT, 9/3/08: Most Suddenlink cable systems in Arkansas and Louisiana are now operating normally in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. The company’s cable systems in Alexandria and other central Louisiana communities, as well as southern Arkansas, received the most damage.

The Alexandria cable system is the largest Suddenlink system incurring extensive damage from the storm. As of 12 p.m. CT today, an estimated three-quarters of Suddenlink customers in the Alexandria area were without commercial power. Generators have been deployed to maintain service in as many parts of the area as possible. The master control facility, or headend, continues to operate on generator power, although Suddenlink’s retail office in nearby Pineville was temporarily closed this morning due to flooding.

Suddenlink employees have installed cable service for the Red Cross Shelter at Alexandria’s Red River Coliseum.

Elsewhere this morning, central Louisiana systems in Winnfield, Boyce and Lecompte were still without commercial power and had suffered extensive damage. In Arkansas, extensive power outages in Hot Springs Village, Malvern and Russellville were affecting service.



UPDATE 12:44 pm CT, 9/2/08: If your cable TV line up includes Cox Sports Television (CST), note that — due to complications from Hurricane Gustav — this channel is currently featuring ESPNEWS, and will return to its normal schedule as soon as possible. Please look for updates on the CST Web site.




ORIGINAL 12:31 pm CT, 9/2/08: While the damage inflicted by Hurricane Gustav appears to be less than what many feared over the weekend, Suddenlink regional managers are reporting commercial power outages throughout much of Louisiana.

A number of Suddenlink crews are on the ground now, with others on their way or available to assist, as circumstances require. These crews will work to restore service in affected areas as soon as commercial power is restored and local officials give them the go-ahead to start working.

Suddenlink began preparing to restore service well before Gustav struck the Louisiana coast, including contacting vendors to bring in extra cable, generators and equipment, and arranging for incremental staff to support the effort from nearby locations.

“Many of our people helped restore service after Hurricane Rita and they know the ropes,” said Randy Goad, a Suddenlink regional vice president with responsibility for the company’s operations in Louisiana. “After Rita, we accomplished business-as-usual service in about one-third of the time experts estimated.”



The American Press in southwest Louisiana and Town Talk in central Louisiana offer ongoing updates on post-Gustav conditions.