It will likely take days to determine the extent of damage to Entergy’s power grid in metro New Orleans and far longer to restore electrical transmission to the region, company executives said early Monday morning.
Four parishes in southeast Louisiana – and parts of two more – had their main source of power cut when eight Entergy transmission lines failed in Hurricane Ida’s intense winds, including a tower that fell into the Mississippi River.
New Orleans is in the dark, along with Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes as well as parts of St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes.
A massive failure of the transmission system that brings electricity to New Orleans and the east bank of Jefferson Parish left the city comple…
But so far exactly what caused the transmission lines to shut down after Ida came ashore at Port Fourchon as a devastating Category 4 hurricane is unclear, as the storm’s devastating winds have prevented crews from conducting a damage assessment.
“Tomorrow we’ll know more. Hopefully we’ll build on that, once we have boots on the ground,” Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, said about 1 a.m.
An electrical transmission tower along the Mississippi River in Avondale that supplies power to New Orleans and the east bank of Jefferson Par…
The eight transmission lines are the arteries that carry most of the electrical power used by the New Orleans region from elsewhere in the state. That means fully restoring power depends on fixing that equipment, as well as repairing the normal power lines that bring electricity to homes and businesses.
Roughly 850,000 customers were out of power when the storm’s winds subsided Sunday night.
The transmission lines that failed include a massive tower that collapsed into the Mississippi River near Avondale during the storm. That tower “didn’t waver” when Hurricane Katrina struck 16 years before Ida, Entergy Louisiana CEO and President Philip May said.
But without knowing what happened to the others, Mays said it was impossible to know what it would take to fix them.
“We don’t know these lines are damaged or destroyed, we know all eight are not operating,” May said. “It’s certainly possible that it could be something that could be fixed relatively quickly.”
But he said given the collapse of the Avondale tower and the fact that all eight had failed, May said he suspected that all had significant damage.
May and Rodriguez said the utility’s planners were working on various scenarios for restoring power. It’s possible that bringing some of the transmission lines back online could allow for restoring some electricity in the region, May said.
Entergy utility trucks are seen parked on the street car track of Canal St. as Hurricane Ida approaches the Louisiana coast in New Orleans, La…
It’s also possible that Entergy’s plants in the area – such as the relatively new and controversial gas plant in New Orleans East – could provide some power to the area, Rodriguez said.
The Entergy New Orleans feeds to the Sewerage & Water Board – which help power many of the city’s drainage pumps – went down as Hurricane’…
Beyond the transmission lines, the utility also must reconnect the individual customers, a process that will involve 20,000 workers from Entergy and from other utilities. But that too will take time.
“Geographically speaking we’re talking about a fairly large geographic area, so that’s going to take some time,” May said. In terms of the damage, we’re going to come up with estimates of how quickly we can begin restoring power.”