Insights > Entergy System Hurricane Ida Update – 8/30/21 @ 10 a.m.
Entergy System Hurricane Ida Update – 8/30/21 @ 10 a.m.
Hurricane Ida made landfall Aug. 29 at 11:55 CDT as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph. Ida was one of the strongest storms to make landfall in Louisiana and retained hurricane status nearly to Mississippi.
Those in the hardest-hit areas could experience power outages for weeks.
Ida was one of the strongest storms to make landfall in Louisiana and retained hurricane status nearly to Mississippi. This storm already has brought a tremendous amount of damage and it continues moving through our territory today.
At 7 a.m., we had 888,229 power outages in Louisiana due to Ida’s destruction. Power outages continue to increase today as the storm moves through Mississippi.
As a result of Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic intensity, major transmission lines that deliver power into the New Orleans area are currently out of service. At 8 a.m. across our service area, 216 substations, 207 transmission lines, and more than 2,000 miles of transmission lines are out of service. We know of one transmission line that spans the Mississippi River that is down. The destroyed tower withstood Hurricane Katrina that struck the area in 2005.
Where weather permitted, our crews were out at first light today assessing damage where it was safe to do so. This will help us get a better idea of what we’re dealing with. It would be premature to speculate at this time when power will be restored given the extent of the damage.
Road closures, flooding and other accessibility challenges due to the storm is affecting our ability to reach some areas of our territory and could delay restoration in those communities.
We are assessing damage as safely and quickly as we can. With the storm still underway, we’ve not been able to get people into all locations to do more detailed inspections. We will learn more today as the weather clears. In harder to reach areas, we use advanced technology, such as infrared cameras, drones and satellite imagery to assess damage by foot, vehicles, airboats, highwater vehicles and helicopters. Even so, lack of access in areas like waterways and marshes could delay our damage assessment.
While we are assessing damage, we will continue restoring service where it is safe to do so. These efforts are done in parallel.
We appreciate our customer’s patience. We will continue to provide updates as we learn more.
We have been working with the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board and offered back-up generation, in addition to their own back-up generation sources.
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 us at 800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
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. More generator-use information is below.
Current outage information:
9 a.m., 8/30/21
Our crews, contractors and mutual-assistance partners are prepared to work long hours, restoring service to customers as safely and as quickly as possible. We currently have a workforce of 11,450 ready to restore service for customers whose power may be affected by Ida. With additional requested resources, we anticipate mobilizing a storm team of at least 20,000. As we begin restoring power to critical services, we begin to assess damage and put in place our restoration plan that will restore service to the greatest number of our customers as safely and quickly as possible.
We staged external resources in safe locations outside of the impacted area to be ready to restore service as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Once our workers return, we can begin safely restoring service to customers by closing circuit breakers, rerouting power and other means.
- As we learn more about the damage, we put in place a restoration plan that helps us restore the greatest number of customers safely in the shortest amount of time.
Our logistics team is acquiring hotel rooms and preparing to move mobile sleeping units to the affected areas to house the thousands of restoration workers coming to help restore service for our customers.
Responding simultaneously to a major storm and COVID-19 could affect our response:
- Along with standard storm preparations, Entergy employees continue navigating the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional steps. These include traveling separately if necessary, adjusting crew staging locations and greater 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.
Entergy has taken severe weather precautions at our other nuclear plants due to Hurricane Ida.
- Entergy declared a notification of unusual event at 6:12 p.m. Sunday after offsite power was lost due to Hurricane Ida. All safety systems performed as expected, with backup diesel generators starting as designed to power essential systems. An unusual event is the lowest of four emergency classifications designated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to ensure the first steps for future response. At 10:29 a.m. Sunday Waterford 3 disconnected from the grid per procedure as storm winds escalated. The plant remains in a safe, secure and stable condition, and the sequestered team members are safe.
- River Bend Station has reduced power at the dispatcher’s request. The action is being taken to preserve grid integrity in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The situation is fluid, and power levels are expected to change in coordination with grid operators.
You should stay safe as we restore service outages caused by Hurricane Ida.
- 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. Be cautions when clearing limbs or downed vegetation as it could hide electrical hazards.
Entergy’s goal is to provide reliable electrical power at a reasonable price. But some emergency conditions may cause power outages that last for extended periods. Some customers may choose to use a portable generator during these times.
- If customers choose to use a generator, they should buy one only from a reputable dealer who can service and maintain the unit.
- Customers should always use portable electric generators in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- A gasoline engine usually powers stand-alone generators. Customers should use them only in well-ventilated areas. Never use a generator indoors as carbon monoxide from the exhaust is deadly.
- If the generator has panel-mounted electrical receptacles as part of the unit, appliances may be plugged directly into the generator.
- 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 Entergy’s workers working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.
- Customers should use a licensed electrician to install the necessary equipment should they decide to wire a generator into their home wiring. The equipment should include a switch to transfer the power source between Entergy and the generator.
- The generator should be properly sized for the expected load. For example, a 3-kilowatt generator will produce 3,000 watts. This is enough power for a 1,200-watt hair dryer and a 1,600-watt toaster, with some power left over for a few light bulbs. Customers should plan for additional needs when sizing their generator.
- Customers should consider a generator’s noise pollution as part of their buying decision. The noise may be obtrusive to neighbors without power.
- Commercial customers should consult with an independent engineer or electrician to size the generator, modify wiring and provide for automatic transfer of power during an outage.
- Customers should consult with suppliers, vendors and local electrical utility companies about required permits before starting any work in a home or business.
- 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.
For our natural gas customers:
- If you 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, click here.
- Stay safe. Don’t use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded. More flood safety tips are available here.
Help for Those Affected by Hurricane Ida
Even as our crews work to restore power to communities impacted by Hurricane Ida, we have mobilized to provide additional support for co-workers, customers, friends and neighbors who have suffered losses in this devastating storm.
As an American Red Cross National Disaster Responder Member, Entergy Corporation made a $500,000 commitment to enable the organization to effectively respond to storms and disasters.
Red Cross volunteers are working very closely with the entire response community – government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others – to coordinate emergency relief efforts and get help to people as quickly as possible.
The work is just beginning. The Red Cross is using financial donations to help people recover and get back on their feet in the challenging weeks and months ahead. You can help by joining us in making a donation at https://redcross.org.
Powering Your Medical Needs
When outages strike, we work hard to restore power as safely and quickly as possible to all customers. But we can’t guarantee continuity of service or priority in restoration, and unplanned outages can’t be completely avoided.
For areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ida, customers should take action for the safety of their special-needs family members by relocating them to a safe area, securing a back-up source of power such as a generator or employing battery back-ups for needed portable machines.
The communities in our service area are prone to damaging hurricanes, tornadoes and ice storms. If your household depends on life-support or other medical equipment, it’s important prepare for unplanned, extended outages.
If your medical needs require electricity, we’ll work with you to minimize the impact of a power outage and help develop a plan of action should an outage affect you. This support is reserved for customers who have a ventilator in use in their homes 24 hours a day; have a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in use in their homes 24 hours a day or have residents in their homes who are on hospice care.
You can discuss the need for such a plan with your physician. More information is available here.
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 page.
- Follow us on Twitter.com/entergy or Facebook.com/entergy.
- Call us at 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Follow updates in your local news media, like radio, television and newspapers.
We caution customers to be aware of unscrupulous attempts to swindle our customers during storm recovery.
- 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.
Here’s how we approach things at this stage to restore your power safely and quickly:
- Essential services such as hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police departments, and water systems are at the head of the restoration list, along with our equipment that supplies electricity to large numbers of customers.
- Then we will concentrate our resources on getting the greatest number of customers back the fastest.
- We can’t use our bucket trucks until sustained winds are less than 30 mph, but we can still begin restoring service to customers by closing circuit breakers, rerouting power and other actions.
- You may see trucks, other vehicles and workers lined up while we process them into our system, taking inventory of equipment and personnel and giving a complete safety orientation.
- Repairs begin with major lines to the substations, then to the lines and equipment serving neighborhoods, businesses and homes.
- Service lines to individual homes and businesses will be restored last because fewer customers are involved, and in the case of fewer outages spread over larger areas, it often takes more time to get power back on for them.
- Significant flooding and other accessibility challenges due to the storm will affect our ability to reach some areas of our territory and could delay restoration in those communities.
- When restoration starts, keep in mind that if you don’t see us working near you, we may be working on another part of the electrical system that you can’t see but must be repaired to get power to you.
Following a storm, we deploy scouts to assess damage. It may take up to three days before we know how long until power will be restored.
As safety is always the highest of priorities, and as we assess the damage, we’ll begin restoring service where it is deemed safe to do so.
We continuously learn and improve from storm experiences, including the record-breaking 2020 hurricane season.
- The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was the busiest season ever recorded with 30 named storms. Entergy found itself in the cone of uncertainty for seven named storms during last year’s hurricane season. Five named storms hit Louisiana last year, making it the most active storm season ever for the state.
- We demonstrated our restoration ability last season by assembling large restoration workforces to quickly restore power to our customers.
- We are ready to take appropriate action before, during and after severe weather.
- Based on previous storm responses and annual storm exercises, we are constantly updating and improving our operations related to storm damage restoration.
- Operation: Storm Ready is our internal process of continuous planning, preparation and training. And an early step, when facing a storm, is to prepare to bring in extra personnel to support the effort.
- We have worked to storm-harden our system. From aggressive preventive maintenance programs to using steel transmission structures near the coast, elevating substations that might flood and installing “isolation” devices on lines to reduce outages, our goal is always to restore power safely and quickly.
Our employees are our greatest assets; we will continue keeping our workers safe during this storm response.
- Keeping our workers safe from worsening weather conditions may limit our ability to restore service as quickly as we’d like.
- We are committed to keeping our employees safe and sheltered during dangerous periods caused by high winds, flooding and other severe storm conditions.
- For strong hurricanes, we evacuate from the predicted landfall area, but quickly return as soon as conditions are safe to begin restoration.
- We are placing focus on guarding our employees from the dangers of fatigue and heat exhaustion. We stress with workers to treat fatigue as a work hazard.
- Our field workers work a 16-hour day that provide eight hours off to rest and restore.
We provide our workforce with food and shelter so that they can focus on the task at hand. Facing severe weather can be extremely challenging; we’re committed to minimizing the effects of a bad storm.
- Weather forecasts and computer models based on knowledge from past storms are used to predict the estimated number of customers without power and the number of days needed to restore power.
- Power is restored faster in areas with less damage. Some of the hardest-hit areas may take longer, which should be factored into your personal storm plan. Remember, safety first.
- Once the storm passes, we can fully assess the damage and will have more information to share.