33,400 Entergy customers remain powerless

Published 6:56 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Special to the American Press

Entergy crews and contractors are actively assessing damages and restoring power after an intense storm system swept across South Louisiana Monday evening.

High winds, lightning, fallen trees and flying debris impacted both the transmission and distribution systems and exacerbated restoration challenges.

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As of 5 p.m., about 33,400 customers remain without power across Louisiana, down from a peak of about 92,700. While many customers will be restored sooner, crews anticipate restoring power to most customers who can safely receive service by late Thursday night. 

Significant damages were reported in Calcasieu Parish, where there was likely tornadic activity, Plaquemine and West Baton Rouge Parish. There is extensive pole and wire damage in the Highway 411 corridor between Livonia and Grosse Tete as well as Southwest Plaquemine. Additionally, backyard equipment will be necessary for work in Lafayette, Zachary and Baton Rouge. Cases of extensive damage or deploying specialized equipment in hard-to-access locations will take longer.

A storm team of about 1,250 workers, which includes a combination of onsite resources and additional resources that have been requested and are on the way, will be engaged in restoration work. Some crews are coming from neighboring service territories in Texas and Arkansas. Meanwhile, damage assessments are progressing, and as of 11 a.m., crews found about 110 poles, 250 spans of wire, 30 transformers and 130 crossarms in need of repair or replacement.

While tree trimming will be required to remove vegetation from downed electric equipment before line work can begin in some areas, crews have been isolating damaged portions of the electric system and rerouting power to expedite restoration efforts where possible. This process is called field switching and has helped bring thousands of customers back online as was the case of a substation near Bluebonnet Boulevard and Jefferson Highway.  

That substation went offline Monday night after a tree fell onto a transmission line and knocked it out of service. Overnight, crews were able to isolate portions of the power grid and flip circuit breakers, among other steps, to energize several power lines coming out of Nesser substation and restore thousands of customers near Westminster and Inniswold in East Baton Rouge Parish. This is just one example of the type of work that has been taking place from Baton Rouge to as far west as Vinton in Calcasieu Parish.