The extreme drought conditions and strong winds in recent weeks have caused dirt and dust build up on AEP Texas power lines and equipment. When combined with foggy weather, these conditions have caused interruptions of service to some electricity customers in the company's service territory.

In efforts to proactively address this problem, AEP Texas transmission and distribution crews have been washing down substations and other parts of the AEP Texas electric system to reduce interruptions of service.

Harry Gordon, AEP Texas vice president of Distribution Region Operations in Corpus Christi, said the problem has been fairly wide spread.

"This problem is occurring in many parts of our service area, including our west Texas region," said Gordon. "The greater concentration, however, has been along the coastal regions where moisture levels and salt air are higher."

Gordon added that the dirt and dust build up reduces the insulation properties of the equipment, which, when combined with foggy weather, can cause arcing and interruptions of service.

Where practical, Gordon said that distribution crews are hosing down electrical equipment with specially treated water to help mitigate the problems.

Gordon said that in some cases, utility poles can catch fire and recommends customers immediately call (866) 223-8508 to report a problem.