Last Modified: Friday, August 01, 2014 12:08 PM
As Southwest Louisiana gets deeper into hurricane season, Entergy has increased its efforts to keep people safe over the next few months. Representatives from the company gave a presentation on safety precautions at Tuesday’s City Council agenda meeting.
“The biggest lesson we’ve learned in the past is that we all need to work together. We have to communicate. That’s the reason I’m here today is for the communication portion,” said Greg Guilbeau of Entergy.
“We have to communicate months before the storm hits to make sure we have plans that correlate with each other. Immediately before a storm hits, we have to communicate with all pertinent officials during the storm and after the storm.”
Guilbeau displayed a chart that indicated the optimum date most storms seem to hit — Sept. 10. He said there are a couple of things residents should do when a storm is on the horizon.
“Number one, they need to have their own plan. Number two, they need to listen to the local affiliates,” he said. “If they say you need to evacuate, please listen to them. They say that for your personal protection.”
Guilbeau talked about Entergy’s text alert service, its smartphone app and its Storm Center website, which provides safety tips. The utility also provides ways for customers to view power outage maps, which use real-time data.
Entergy follows a protocol when it comes to surveying the area after a major storm hits, Guilbeau said. The company first checks its power plants and then checks the substations. From there, Entergy moves on to its critical customer list, which is coordinated with city officials.
“The most important critical customers are police stations, hospitals, fire departments, facilities that are critical to life and limb. After we do that, we restore power to large bulk customers and large subdivisions,” Guilbeau said.
“The stores that are needed to start people up again. You’re food and that type of things. Then individual customers and homes are typically the last of what we get to.”
Guilbeau urged people to stay away from downed power lines, stay out of standing water, and avoid wildlife like snakes and dangerous insects. He closed the presentation by reiterating the importance of communication during the hurricane season.
“I just wanted to make sure we’re communicating with you. We’ve already met and had this conversation with the mayor, and if you have any affiliates outside of the community or groups you would like us to present this to, we would be happy to consider that,” Guilbeau said.
“Communication between us, you, state police, city officials and parish officials is so crucial.”