T&D World Magazine

Entergy Utilities Working to Restore Power on Three Fronts After Ike

Entergy Corp. utilities Sunday and Monday restored power to 254,936 of the 705,400 customers in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas left without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Crews in Entergy’s hard-hit Texas service territory – where Ike knocked out power to 99 percent, or 392,600, of its customers -- continued assessing damage to the transmission and distribution systems Monday while working to restore power to critical services.

Damage assessment picked up speed Monday with improved weather and the influx of additional restoration workers into the area. A combination of poor weather conditions and flooding slowed damage assessment and restoration work on Sunday. In some areas severe flooding will continue to make restoration slow.

As of 4 p.m. Monday, Entergy Texas, Inc. restored power to 8,729 customers, including two hospitals in Beaumont and one in Orange, as well as other critical infrastructure. In addition, Entergy and CenterPoint have worked together, just as they did in the Hurricane Rita restoration, on an emergency tie between the two companies to the main water supply for the city of Houston. Restoration work continues for other critical infrastructure in the region.

Initial assessments indicate widespread damage across all of Entergy’s Texas service area. Entergy crews made initial transmission restoration to Beaumont-area substations late Sunday night.

Flooding was also an issue in the low-lying southeast Louisiana parishes of Plaquemines, Lafourche and Terrebonne, where about 59,400 customers were left without power because of Ike. Crews were evacuated from the low-lying areas before the storm and are moving back as floodwaters recede. In southwest Louisiana, about 56,700 customers lost power from Ike. The storm also interrupted service to 17,700 Entergy New Orleans customers. By 4:30 p.m. Monday, Entergy had restored power to 109,935 of the 133,800 Louisiana customers affected by Ike.

Work was progressing quickly in Arkansas, where 136,272 of the 179,000 customers affected by Ike had their lights back on as of 4 p.m. Monday. The majority of repairs in Arkansas should be complete within a few days, although some outages could take as long as a week to repair.

Entergy has adequate manpower to restore service across its territory, but Ike has caused power outages in several states in addition to the Entergy service territory. The continuing size of the approximately 14,000 member workforce on the Entergy system remains volatile as other utility and contract companies recall some of their workers to restore service in their home territories affected by the remnants of Ike. Entergy continues relocating workers within its service territory to restore service effectively in all locations affected by the storm.

Ike affected service in approximately 35,000 square miles of Entergy’s 114,000-square-mile service territory, including 15,000 square miles in Texas. More than a third of the Texas territory is rural.

Repairs to systems in rural areas frequently take longer and affect fewer customers than in urban sections, including those in Texas affected by Ike.
Transmission lines knocked out of service by Ike include 184 transmission lines in Texas and 281 across Entergy’s system.

Entergy is using 34 helicopters, 36 airboats, more than 70 rear alley machines, 17 marsh excavators and 228 buses in its restoration work in the three states.

Crews called on to help restore power are from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Work continues to repair damage from Hurricane Gustav. As of 4 p.m. Monday, crews had restored power to 99 percent of the affected customers in Louisiana. Remaining damage to the transmission system from Gustav includes 15 lines and seven substations out of service.

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