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CUs generators in disaster area depend on fuel
FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (9/18/08)--Many credit unions' disaster recovery and business continuity plans involve relying on generators as an alternative power source. Generators run on fuel. And fuel doesn't get pumped without electricity. What happens if, like in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike, a huge power grid is down? "Without power other portions of the energy infrastructure are shut down, including reliable phone service and data lines, and Internet routers and hubs, and important services like gas stations, grocery stores, refineries, and all the other things we may take for granted," said Rick Grady, Texas Credit Union League, vice president of marketing, public relations and communications. "Thus, even though our members can operate their credit unions on generators, the generators need diesel fuel to operate," Grady said in an update on the status of credit unions Wednesday. "That fuel comes from jobbers who stop by the facility to fill the tank, or by individuals going to a gas station and filling a tank. Many of those jobbers and stations cannot pump fuel because their pumps operate on electricity," he said. "The same is true for running water, transportation systems, and elevators in high-rise buildings. So, we have a ways to go before the infrastructure stabilizes," Grady said. Near the Texas/Louisiana border, Hurricane Ike knocked down more than 100 transmission towers, damaged 272 substations and flooded the Sabine Power Station in Bridge City, driving snakes and animals into the plant, officials at Entergy Texas said (The New York Times Sept. 17). Around Houston, most high-voltage lines were intact. The main damage was to distribution lines in neighborhoods, said CenterPoint, another power company. On Tuesday, about 24 high voltage transmission lines --five of them running into Galveston, were still out of service. Caite Blount, vice president of student lending for Texas Dow Employees CU (TDECU) based in Lake Jackson, told News Now Wednesday afternoon that many credit unions and their branches are open but operating without air conditioning. "They're running generators," she said. "Gas is starting to come back into some parts of the area," she said. "We're starting to see more food and gas."


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