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Power companies say they are getting ready for the storms

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Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-23 19:41:19-04

Cleco and Entergy say they're gearing up for Marco and Laura.

“While it’s unusual to face back-to-back storms, Cleco prepares year-round for severe weather events, and Tropical Storm Laura and Hurricane Marco are no different. Our storm teams are activated, and we have secured additional resources and equipment,” said James Lass, director of distribution operations and emergency management. “What is different is how our restoration efforts might be affected by COVID-19 and the short window in between the storms.”

· As with any large restoration effort, the company’s focus is on responding to unsafe electrical situations and restoring emergency services followed by restoring the greatest number of customers.

· On top of flooding concerns leading to impassable roads, rain from the first storm could saturate and soften the ground leaving trees and poles more susceptible to falling.

· In addition to Cleco’s standard storm and safety protocols, Cleco crews and contractors must take additional safety precautions due to COVID-19, including traveling in separate vehicles, when possible, and adjusting crew staging locations. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing, and we ask our customers to make every effort to avoid work zones.

“The safety of our crews and customers is priority in everything we do,” said Lass. “Once conditions are safe, line crews will patrol to assess damage by land and air and begin restoration efforts.”

For additional information on how Cleco is preparing, follow the company on Facebook @ClecoPower or visit Cleco’s Storm Center page at cleco.com/storm-center.

Entergy’s Louisiana companies are continuing to monitor and plan for the potential impacts of two tropical storm systems.

While the paths and intensity of Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura could change, the companies are preparing for multiple scenarios as well as the enhanced risks of severe thunderstorms, strong winds, heavy rains, high tides and coastal flooding in portions of Louisiana.

Though it may be too soon to determine the exact location, timing and magnitude of these storms, customers are encouraged to continue monitoring local weather alerts, have a plan in place and be storm ready. Due to additional measures that must be taken because of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the potential for impact from back-to-back storms, customers should prepare for extended restoration times, especially if there are widespread outages.

Entergy says their crews are prepared to restore service to as many customers as possible during the short window between the storms, but some customers may remain out through both events. A storm team of approximately 3,400, including Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans crews, contractors and support personnel, is being assembled to restore power and gas services quickly and safely to customers should outages occur.

In addition, the companies have moved equipment that sits in low-lying areas to higher ground and flood protections are in place for equipment in other areas that could see high water. High-water vehicles and drones have also been secured should they be needed during any restoration efforts.

“Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura, combined with the pandemic, create a potential triple threat to Louisiana,” said John Hawkins, vice president of Entergy distribution operations for Louisiana. “This has been an unprecedented year for everyone, but I'm confident we have the resources and manpower necessary to successfully respond to what is another unique set of challenges. We urge everyone to have plans in place and be storm ready. We will get through this together.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, crews will continue to practice social distancing while in the field, and Entergy asks that customers do the same. For the safety of crews and customers, please stay away from work zones.

If there is a need to report a service problem, customers should call 1-800- ENTERGY.

Staying informed before, during and after a tropical system strikes is just as important as making personal storm plans. Here’s how customers can stay updated throughout the event:
• Download the Entergy App at entergyapp.com. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.
• Entergy’s View Outages website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.
• Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.
• The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.
• Operation: Storm Ready Guide is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan and prepare for weather emergencies. Follow us on Social Media Social media plays an important role in keeping customers informed, and the company places a high priority on updating its social media channels throughout an event.