Hurricane Ida could leave much of southeast Louisiana without power in the coming days. And while utility companies expect to restore the vast majority of it pretty quickly, officials say outages in the hardest-hit places could last for a long time.
Entergy, which serves more than a million customers in Louisiana, and Cleco, which services about 300,000, say their crews stand ready to respond. But they warned people to brace for days, if not a month or more without power.
In an advisory Saturday, Entergy urged customers to finalize storm preparations and follow guidance of public officials. Based on past restoration times, the company said it expects to fix 90% of outages in no more than a few weeks.
Louisiana’s utility giants say they’ve summoned backup from their counterparts across the country. With the additional resources, Entergy alone said it plans to assemble a storm team of as many as 16,000 workers if it comes to that.
Equipment and crews have been cleared from Ida’s path, Entergy and Cleco said. Once the storm subsides, the companies say they expect workers to deploy high-water vehicles, rear-alley machines, marsh buggies, drones and helicopters.
“Crews will not move back into the area to begin restoration until it is safe to do so,” Entergy officials said in a press release.
While ground crews can get to work first, bucket trucks won’t be safe to use until winds calm to less than 30 mph.
Before anything gets fixed, Entergy said it will have to assess the damage and respond accordingly — with critical infrastructure and more populated communities taking precedence.
Entergy said its crews will follow pandemic safety rules by masking up and keeping their distance. The company asked customers to return the favor if they encounter their workers.
To stay on top of the latest energy-related information during the storm, Entergy suggested the following resources:
- Entergy App helps customers report outages or check on the status of power at a home or business
- Text alerts, which you can sign up for to get updates about restoration efforts by texting REG to 36778
- Entergy’s Storm Center website has safety, preparation and restoration information
- Social media, where Entergy provides storm restoration updates on Facebook and Twitter
- Entergy’s View Outages website includes maps that show outage locations and provides updates about restoration
To learn more about Cleco's emergency plan, visit its storm-response landing page here.