An anticipated storm team of more than 20,000 and growing has begun assessing the vast damage and destruction across New Orleans and southeast Louisiana caused by Hurricane Ida's landfall on Sunday.
The catastrophic Category 4 hurricane's brutal winds and torrential rainfall toppled transmission, power poles and other equipment, causing outages for approximately 895,000 Entergy New Orleans, LLC and Entergy Louisiana, LLC customers as of 11 a.m. Monday.
Damage to eight high-voltage lines took out power for New Orleans and Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes, as well as parts of St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes. One transmission tower near Avondale fell Sunday night, causing the tower's conductor and wires to land in the Mississippi River. As a result of Hurricane Ida's intensity, major transmission lines that deliver power to numerous Louisiana parishes are currently out of service.
"At 150 mph, Hurricane Ida's winds were incredibly devastating," said Phillip May, Entergy Louisiana president and CEO. "We continue looking at options to restore power to those parishes that are out."
Now that Ida has moved out of the area, Entergy is conducting inspections of the system to get a clearer picture of what will be needed to repair the destruction. The full assessment of damage could take several days, since many areas are currently inaccessible either by roadways. Based on historical restoration times, customers in the direct path of a storm as intense as Hurricane Ida could experience outages for more than three weeks. While 90% of customers will be restored sooner, customers in the hardest-hit areas should plan for the possibility of experiencing extended power outages.
"This will be a marathon, not a sprint," said Deanna Rodriguez, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO. "We're working as safely and quickly as we can, but recovery will vary depending on the damage incurred and its location. We must all be prepared for the recovery to take some time. While too early in the process to give approximate restoration times, our focus remains on getting the assessments completed so that we can begin to provide more guidance to customers as soon as possible. We appreciate our customer's patience and will continue to provide updates as they become available."
In addition to restoration, Entergy is working with key government leaders to ensure they are kept up to date on the latest information and to provide them the support they need in their communities. This includes the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board where Entergy has offered back-up generation to supplement the board's own back-up generation sources. Wastewater infrastructure is also a priority for all impacted parishes across the state.
Road closures, flooding and cell phone communication problems are hindering the restoration process, but workers are diligent in their efforts to begin restoring power where it is safe to do so.
Entergy urges everyone to be safe, including customers and Entergy personnel and contractors. Stay away from downed power lines as well as flooded areas. Do not walk in standing water and do not venture into areas of debris since you may not be able to see a power line that could still be energized and dangerous.
The greatest danger after this type of storm remains downed power lines and electrical equipment. If anyone sees a power line or electrical equipment on the ground or in the trees or bushes -- do not go near it. Call and report it at 800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).
If customers smell natural gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and leave the area immediately. Do not operate electrical switches. Call the gas company from a nearby building and don't re-enter until it's safe to do so. For more gas safety tips, visit Entergy's Storm Center. To report a gas leak, call 1-800-9-OUTAGE.
In flooded areas, a steady stream of bubbles on the surface of the water may be evidence of a gas leak. In areas that are not flooded, blowing dirt or dead grass and plants in the area of a gas line may be evidence of a leak, in addition to the easily detectable smell and a hissing sound. To report a gas leak, call 1-800-9-OUTAGE.
Please do not attempt to turn on or off your natural gas valve or use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded. More flood safety tips on Entergy's Storm Center.
Customers choosing to use a generator should buy one only from a reputable dealer who can service and maintain the unit. Always use portable electric generators in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Please Storm Center for more information on using your generator safely.
Keeping customers informed before, during and after a storm is important to Entergy. Here are some of the platforms we use to provide updates:
· Hurricane Ida website – Find the latest information regarding Hurricane Ida and our efforts.
· Entergy App – Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.
· Text alerts – Customers can register for outage text alerts through myEntergy. Be sure to update your notification preferences to participate in text alerts. Customers also can sign up for text messages about storm and restoration efforts by texting REG to 36778.
· Entergy Storm Center website – The website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated regularly.
· Social media – Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana provide storm restoration updates through their Facebook and Twitter pages.
· Entergy's View Outages website – The website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.
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