Insights > Hurricane Laura Restoration Update - 9/8/20 @ 9:45 a.m.
Hurricane Laura Restoration Update - 9/8/20 @ 9:45 a.m.
Electrical power restoration continues in Southwest Louisiana. Entergy’s Hurricane Laura information website provides customers with storm restoration and recovery updates. Visit the site at entergy.com/hurricanelaura.
Crews have identified damage to approximately 1,600 transmission structures, 6,600 poles, 330 miles of distribution wire and nearly 2,900 transformers. For customers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes, this means an extended restoration effort.
As a result of extensive damage to the transmission infrastructure serving this area, the transmission and distribution systems will require nearly a nearly complete rebuild. As more generation and transmission services are available in southwest Louisiana, this should help improve our ability to finalize our restoration efforts.
Restoration workers, now numbering 16,000 in Louisiana, have restored power to approximately 178,000 of the 270,900 customers who lost power at the peak of the hurricane the afternoon of Aug. 27.
The company expects it may be mid-September before power is available to customers in Southwest Louisiana who can safely receive it. Due to the complexity of the restoration effort, restoring power may take longer for some customers in the region. Detailed estimated restoration times have not been established as we continue refining our restoration timeline in the heavily damaged area.
The damage from Hurricane Laura’s historic intensity caused catastrophic damage to the Entergy system across Louisiana and Texas. The eye wall, which brings the most damaging winds and intense rainfall, passed directly over Lake Charles, Louisiana, causing wide-spread damage to that area and our system.
Entergy’s total transmission damage from Hurricane Laura included:
- 1,285 structures destroyed.
- 492 structures damaged.
- 297 substations out.
- 225 lines out.
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. Without these lines in service, it makes it difficult to move power across the system to customers in the affected areas.
Power must be restored to transmission lines and substations in order to energize the distribution lines that serve businesses and homes.
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.
Laura’s damage to Entergy’s transmission system surpassed that of Hurricane Gustav that hit Louisiana and Hurricane Ike that hit Texas in 2008.
The transmission structure that supports a 500,000-volt line weighs roughly 40,000 pounds. Transporting just one requires three 18-wheeler trucks. For comparison, one 18-wheeler can transport about 50-100 distribution poles.
All nine transmission lines that deliver power into Southwest Louisiana, seven of which belong to Entergy, are out of service. All seven have been catastrophically damaged. The damage is some of the most severe the company has experienced.
For more customers to begin receiving power in Southwest Louisiana, the transmission lines must be rebuilt. Those 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. Entergy Louisiana expects to energize the first of its transmission lines into Lake Charles in mid-September.
For the Lake Charles area, our first and most critical priority is to re-energize the first transmission source to begin the process of starting available generation units in the area. We have several options that we are currently evaluating based on feasibility and time to execute.
With this first source energized, the priority is to reenergize other transmission facilities required to restart power generation sources within the Lake Charles area, including Calcasieu Plant and Lake Charles Power Station. These generating sources will allow Entergy Louisiana to power essential services and facilities critical to public health and safety, as well as some customers.
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.
We use peak outages, which measure a moment in time, to indicate our restoration progress. Over the course of the storm and our restoration, the company has restored 365,576 individual outages in Louisiana as of 7 a.m. Sept. 8.
Power has been restored to all Texas customers. However, four of the nine major transmission lines that help power Entergy Texas customers from Louisiana remain out of service as a result of significant storm damage to multiple structures and spans of conductor. A good number of the transmission structures within these lines were damaged beyond repair and require complete replacement.
Entergy’s focus is on repairing the catastrophic damage to the transmission system across Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana, which together provide power to the eastern portion of Texas.
The transmission system plays a critical role in delivering power from the power plant to the lines serving customers’ neighborhoods. 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, Entergy Texas’ engineering and operations groups are working closely, along with our reliability coordinator Midcontinent Independent System Operator, to ensure the safe and stable operation of the electric grid.
Our crews, contractors and mutual-assistance partners are working long hours restoring service to customers as safely and as quickly as possible. We have pulled in people from all over the country to work long hours.
- Our restoration workforce numbers 17,000, with 16,000 in Southwest Louisiana. It 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. The 23,200 workers originally brought in to restore service comprised the largest restoration effort we have ever mobilized.
- Restoration workers from 30 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, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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 blocked access or other obstacles.
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.
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.
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 power.
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.
- 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.