Entergy officials say that outages related to Hurricane Rita continue to rise and that Rita -- which came just a few weeks after the worst storm in company history -- is now the second-worst storm in company history.
As of 2 p.m. Saturday, Hurricane Rita had interrupted service to almost 611,000 Entergy customers in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. This is second only to Hurricane Katrina, which interrupted service to 1.1 million customers in Louisiana and Mississippi.
At the time Rita struck, Entergy still had 211,553 customers out of service in the greater New Orleans Area, bringing the total number of customers affected by both storms to 832,506.
Rita came on shore east of Sabine Pass, Texas at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday as a Category 3 Hurricane with wind speeds of 120 mph. It had a direct impact to Entergy's service territory in Texas and Louisiana.
Entergy is responding to damage from Hurricane Rita. Initial assessments are underway. Entergy has 7,000 linemen and support workers committed to restoring service and the company continues working to bring in more.
Prior to Hurricane Rita's strike, Entergy had restored service to almost 880,000 customers affected by Hurricane Katrina. Up to 170,000 of those are unable to accept electric and gas service, with restoration for many requiring major repairs or reconstruction.
In New Orleans, Entergy crews continue to work in areas of the city that were not affected by flooding. Those customers who can take power in the French Quarter and areas of Uptown without flooding will have power sometime next week.
Before the back-to-back hurricanes, Entergy's highest outage count was 270,000, from Tropical Storm Cindy. Before the 2005 hurricane season, the highest number of customers impacted by a storm was 260,000 during Hurricane Georges in 1998.