Entergy, New Orleans’ largest utility, is trying to service hundreds of thousands of customers who have been without power since Sunday as Hurricane Ida destroyed or damaged many of its power lines.
The utility company said shutting down the natural gas plant The New Orleans Power Station, which started operating last year, suffered damage to major transmission lines and some smaller distribution lines that carry electricity to homes and businesses. This facility designed to supply electricity in times of high demand and emergenciesIt wasn’t badly damaged in the storm, the company said.
A few other facilities near the city are also ready to generate electricity once workers complete adequate repairs to the power lines. These include Ninemile 6 in Westwego, La., and the J. Wayne Leonard Power Station in Montz, La.
“Teams are evaluating the transmission system and working to develop a plan for power recovery,” Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said in an email on Tuesday. “They’re waiting for the first light in the city by Wednesday.”
Ida, a Category 4 storm, has taken 216 substations and more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines out of service, the company said on Monday.
Praising Entergy for building the J. Wayne Leonard plant, Governor John Bel Edwards on Tuesday expressed some disappointment at the company’s pace at providing electricity to New Orleans and a large southern Louisiana region where heat and humidity are increasing. made the air feel hotter than 100 degrees. Some residents were told they could be without power for weeks.
“I am not satisfied with 30 days, Entergy employees are not satisfied with 30 days, anyone out there who needs power is not satisfied with it,” said Mr. Edwards. However, I am aware that we are experiencing the strongest hurricane the state has ever experienced – at least connected to the strongest.
Entergy powers three million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. Employing more than 13,000 people, the company generated revenue of $10.1 billion in 2020.
The financial costs of storms are piling up for Entergy. In addition to repairs due to Ida, the company’s equipment was damaged in three hurricanes in 2020 and a winter storm this year. Entergy told Louisiana regulators that restoration costs related to previous storms in the state would total $2.1 billion. The company is asking its customers for permission to charge higher electricity fees to cover these costs. Regulators usually approve such requests, but fee payers can often object to rate increases.
In a request to recoup the costs, Entergy detailed the scale of the debris from Hurricane Laura, the hardest hit of last year’s storms. The company said 1,822 transmission structures, 12,453 distribution poles and approximately 770 miles of distribution cables were destroyed or damaged.
In February, Entergy said last year’s hurricanes damaged several transmission lines, including an unspecified one in southeast Louisiana. The company said the line was not repaired as it could be too costly. “The restoration plan for this transmission line and the associated cost estimate are still under consideration,” Entergy told the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Entergy did not immediately respond to questions about the transmission line damaged in last year’s hurricanes.
Sophie Kasakov contributing reporting.