LAKE CHARLES, La. — Entergy Louisiana announced on Wednesday its plan to bring power back to Southwest Louisiana by energizing the first of its transmission lines into Lake Charles within two weeks.
An Entergy storm team of 8,300 and growing is on the ground in Southwest Louisiana to rebuild a power grid severely damaged by Hurricane Laura’s 150 mph sustained winds.
According to a release from Entergy, the transmission system, which is a critical component of delivering power to customers’ homes, suffered catastrophic damages.
All nine transmission lines that deliver power into the Lake Charles area are currently out of service as a result of storm damage to multiple structures and spans of wire.
A significant number of transmission structures were also damaged beyond repair and require complete replacement, the release states.
With this first source energized, the priority is to re-energize other transmission facilities required to restart power generation sources within the Lake Charles area, including Calcasieu Plant and Lake Charles Power Station.
Entergy states these generating sources will allow Entergy Louisiana to power some critical community infrastructure and essential services such as hospitals, other utilities and public safety, as well as restoration of some customers.
And while the transmission lines are being rebuilt, other crews will continue working in parallel to restore substations and the distribution system that feed homes and businesses, the company says.
Entergy says it is also aggressively exploring other opportunities to jump-start the power flow in Lake Charles by enabling generators located in the city to begin producing electricity without the need for a transmission source to provide start-up power.
The company says it expects it will be about two to three weeks before power is available to customers in the Lake Charles area who can safely receive it.
But, restoring power will take longer to customers in inaccessible areas of the region.
While not impacting the expected restoration of service to residential customers, Entergy says its initial estimates are it will take weeks to rebuild all transmission lines in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes.
And until that work is complete, resumption of normal service could be limited.
“Energizing the first transmission source into the area is an important milestone in our ability to power the recovery of the local community,” said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO, in the release. “This is not a restoration. It’s almost a complete rebuild of our transmission and distribution system that serves Calcasieu and Cameron parishes.”
If the grid and the flow of power were compared to our highway system, transmission lines would be the interstates, substations would be the off-ramps, and distribution lines would be the streets and roads that lead to homes and businesses, according to the release.
Although the power grid in Southwest Louisiana will lack the redundancies that are in place when the transmission system is in full operation, Entergy Louisiana’s engineering and operations teams are developing a plan to maintain the stability of the system.
A breakdown of the damaged infrastructure in Southwest Louisiana includes approximately 1,000 transmission structures, 6,637 broken poles, 2,926 transformers and 338 miles of downed distribution wire.
The statewide breakdown of distribution system damages includes 8,436 poles, 3,434 transformers and 463 miles of downed wire.
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