Insights > Hurricane Laura Restoration Update - 9/21/20 @ 9:30 a.m.
Hurricane Laura Restoration Update - 9/21/20 @ 9:30 a.m.
As of 9:15 a.m. Sept. 21, 8,900 outages were occurring in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes in Louisiana, down from a peak of approximately 93,000 outages in Southwest Louisiana. Over the course of the storm and restoration, the company has restored 443,653 individual outages in Louisiana as of 7 a.m. Sept. 21.
Entergy’s Hurricane Laura information website provides customers with storm restoration and recovery updates. Visit the site at entergy.com/hurricanelaura.
Our restoration workforce stands ready to respond to potential impacts of Tropical Storm Beta. We have access to the resources needed to continue rebuilding the grid in Southwest Louisiana and to respond to Beta, once conditions are safe. Visit the National Weather Service for the latest information on Beta.
As of 8 a.m. Sept. 21, Entergy restoration workers have replaced 13,633 of 14,125 damaged distribution poles, 3,760 of 4,760 damaged transformers and replaced 29,358 of 29,831 damaged spans of wire. Lake Charles/Sulphur damaged distribution equipment replaced includes 10,508 poles, 3,000 transformers and 22,527 spans of wire.
For our transmission system, as of 8 a.m. Sept. 21, restoration workers have repaired or replaced 808 of 1,459 damaged structures, 2,483 of 2,792 miles of damaged line and 296 of 316 damaged substations. Lake Charles/Sulphur damaged transmission equipment replaced includes 754 structures, 331 miles of line and 77 substations.
As a result of extensive damage to the transmission infrastructure serving this area, the transmission and distribution systems will require nearly a complete rebuild. The transmission system is the backbone of the electric grid and helps Entergy move power from the power plant to the lines serving customers’ neighborhoods. Power must be restored to transmission lines and substations in order to energize the distribution lines that serve businesses and homes. Without these lines in service, it makes it difficult to move power across the system to customers in the affected areas.
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.
Restoration for customers in southwest Louisiana is a methodical process. While crews are working in all areas, those with the least amount of damage will be restored sooner. Some customers without power may notice that the electric system in their immediate area has been repaired or appears to be in good condition.
Those customers could still be without power because electric equipment is damaged in portions of the system that they cannot see, sometimes miles away. Entergy Louisiana is committed to repairing and rebuilding the electric system until every customer who was impacted by the storm has power available to them. As work progresses, we will update restoration timeframes with increasingly accurate estimates.
To learn more about the steps you should take if your home’s exterior electric equipment was damaged, click here. And to learn more about electrical equipment that serves your home and whether the equipment is yours or Entergy’s, click here.
Some of the restoration activity in Southwest Louisiana has progressed to slower “rear-lot” construction restoration. For rear-lot construction, or when our facilities are located behind homes or businesses, limited access is the primary reason it may take longer to restore power for these customers than others. More information on rear-lot restoration is included below.
All transmission lines that deliver power into Southwest Louisiana were catastrophically damaged. The damage caused by Hurricane Laura is some of the most severe the company has experienced.
Transmission lines that received major damage may need to be fully reconstructed in parts. Once the transmission lines are flowing electricity into the city’s substations, then power can flow through the distribution lines to homes and businesses that are able to accept power.
We also will reconfigure our electricity delivery system where feasible to return power to some customers more quickly. Once repairs are completed, we will return the system to normal configuration.
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.
Entergy Texas is pledging $360,000 to charitable organizations across the region to help rebuild the communities it serves.
The company allocated $200,000 from an American Red Cross Disaster Responder Partnership to directly aid communities impacted by Hurricane Laura. The support will help victims recover and get back on their feet in the challenging weeks and months ahead
Entergy Texas has pledged another $160,000 to provide grants to community organizations focused on referral assistance and safety net services for impacted individuals and families, including temporary lodging, food, and clothing for affected families. The Foundation for Southeast Texas, a nonprofit, public charity, will distribute the funds to nonprofits in the local community. Decisions about specific grantees will be announced later.
The damage from Hurricane Laura has eliminated much of the redundancy built into the transmission system, which makes it difficult to move power around the region to customers. These conditions, along with increasing demand during periods of higher temperatures, can result in an imbalance of supply and demand for electricity.
While these transmission structures are being repaired and rebuilt, we are working to ensure the safe and stable operation of the electric grid.
The 25,314 workers assembled over time to restore service comprises the largest restoration effort we have ever mobilized. Restoration workers from 31 states have helped restore service for our customers. Donor states include Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia. This includes 232 electric utility businesses, including 24 other electric utility companies.
Our crews, contractors and mutual-assistance partners continue working long hours restoring service to customers as safely and as quickly as possible. Our restoration workforce includes our own employees, contractors and mutual assistance crews from other companies. As power was restored in parts of the territory, some workers have been released.
Given the intensity of this storm and the additional need for our crews to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures, outage restoration will be extended in the hardest-hit areas and may be hampered by blocked access or other obstacles.
Customers with property damage may require special action to speed their restoration:
- If your property has water damage, turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
- Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. A licensed electrician’s inspection of your property’s electric wiring may be needed before Entergy can restore power to a home or business that has water damage from rain or flooding.
Customers who have a new advanced meter installed can check to see if their power is restored by logging into myEntergy. View “My Usage” on the dashboard. Select “hourly view” to see their most recent usage which is updated every four to five hours.
For customers without property damage:
- Property owners without hurricane damage should be cautious.
- Look for electrical system damage once power is restored. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or the smell of hot insulation is noticeable, turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
- Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
Entergy cannot restore power to a location with a damaged meter base, conduit or weather head (the metal pipe extending upward from the structure with electrical cables inside). They must be repaired by a qualified electrician before Entergy can restore
Responding to a major storm and COVID-19 could affect our response:
- Along with standard storm preparations, Entergy employees are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional steps. These include traveling separately when possible, adjusting crew staging locations and increasing the use of drones.
- Due to the additional measures crews must take, restoration may take longer, especially where there are widespread outages. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing and we ask that customers do the same. For their safety and yours, please stay away from work zones.
For our industrial customers, restoration priority is to power critical community services such as fire, police, hospitals and water and communication services. As we restore service to residential, commercial and industrial customers, we must do it in a way that balances the needs of our customers with the ability to support additional load as the system permits.
Factors that can slow rear-lot restoration include the added time it takes to survey for damage. Rather than being able to search for the cause of an outage from a vehicle on the street, our responders may have to walk into each back yard to find the damage. Fences or other obstructions can cause further delays.
Once the damage is located, making repairs can take longer. In rear-lot configurations, our inability to use line trucks and other large equipment slows the speed of our restoration. In addition, we may not be able to bring in off-road equipment to help if we cannot access the right-of-way. If so, making repairs becomes a very manual and labor-intensive process.
Even in those instances when a right-of-way is available, we may have to remove fences, vegetation or other obstacles to gain access. If there is no right-of-way, the work probably will be done manually. If we must replace a damaged utility pole, we are required to call the underground facilities locating service and wait until they complete their survey before we can dig.
One example of the difference in the time required to make rear-lot repairs is in replacing a pole. Working a pole in an alley or other rear-lot construction takes about twice as long, or about six hours. Working a pole on the street with multiple vehicles takes about half that time.
- We know you want information about your outage. Given the intensity of this storm and the additional need for our crews to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures, hardest hit areas may experience outages for weeks. In addition, restoration may be hampered by flooding, blocked access or other obstacles.
- In addition to disruption of normal business operations, customers may experience delays when calling our telephone centers, especially from unaffected areas, due to overloading of the system with outage calls. We encourage customers to use these other means to interact with us during restoration:
- Download our free app for your smartphone at entergy.com/app.
- 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.
- Visit the Entergy Storm Center website and our View Outages.
- Follow us on Twitter.com/entergy or Facebook.com/entergy.
- Call us at 800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Follow updates in your local news media, like radio, television and newspapers.
- Once these storms pass, we can fully assess the damage and will have more information to share.
Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in attempts to scam our customers following Hurricane Laura.
- Entergy never demands immediate payment from customers over the phone. You shouldn't give your personal information to strangers.
- If a call sounds suspicious, hang-up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak directly with an Entergy customer service representative.
- If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general's office.
- You should stay safe as we restore service outages caused by Hurricane Laura.
- There is no way to know if a downed line is energized or not, so if you see one, keep your distance and call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Stay safe and away from downed power lines and flooded areas. Do not walk in standing water and do not venture into areas of debris, since energized and dangerous power lines may not be visible.
- Customers choosing to use portable electric generators should do so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Customers must never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from Entergy’s service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or our linemen working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.
- Restoration workers who discover a generator attached directly to Entergy’s system will work with the customer to disconnect the generator. As a last resort, the restoration worker will disconnect the customer’s service connection to Entergy, which may take an extended time to reconnect due to the extensive restoration effort underway.