Entergy said that more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines are out of service, including all of the lines that deliver power into the New Orleans area, in the wake of Hurricane Ida, which struck Louisiana with 150 mph winds on August 29.
The utility warned that people in the hardest-hit areas “could experience power outages for weeks.” The utility also provided photos of some of the damage that crews encountered as repair work began.
The South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association, which serves 17,000 customers, said the hurricane caused “catastrophic damage” to its system. It said that parts of its Houma, Louisiana, office roof blew off and the building was full of standing water.
As of daybreak on August 30, Entergy said it had 888,229 power outages in Louisiana. Power outages continued to increase as the storm moved through Mississippi. It counted around 45,000 outages in its Mississippi service territory.
Entergy said that it counted 216 substations and 207 transmission lines in addition to the 2,000 miles of transmission lines as being out of service. One transmission line that spans the Mississippi River was down. The destroyed tower withstood Hurricane Katrina when it struck the area in 2005.
Entergy said it had a workforce of 11,450 working to restore service. With additional requested resources, it expected to mobilize a storm team of at least 20,000.
Entergy said on Sunday night, as Hurricane Ida was near its peak, that it provided back-up generation to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board. But the Board reported that it had lost “all Entergy power.” It said its crews were working “quickly and decisively” to make up for the loss with internal self-generated power sources, including what it identified as Turbines 4, 5, and 6, and EMD, as well as backup generators located at drainage pumping stations.
The water board said that the Entergy loss of power was a “significant” loss for its 60 hz pumps and the 25 hz pumps typically powered through frequency changers. The Board said it was using the self-generated sources of power to drain stormwater and pump drinking water into the city.
The power loss also impacted the city’s sewer pumping stations. The water board said that as of Monday morning, hours after the storm had passed, no backup power was available to operate any of the pumps that were impacted. Crews were assessing how many of the 84 stations were impacted and the board warned but the number “may be very significant.”
The water board said it was working to obtain backup power for some of those sewage pumping stations. In order to prevent sewage backups, the board said it asked residents to limit water usage at home, thus decreasing the amount of wastewater that must be pumped and treated.