Courtesy: Entergy
Entergy Restoration 5f9c3141357be

Hurricane Zeta Causes Multi-state Power Outage

Oct. 30, 2020
Entergy restores power to 100,000 customers in southeast Lousiana the day after the storm.

Hurricane Zeta has caused widespread power outage in multiple states. 

Crews restored power to more than 100,000 customers the day after the hurricane tore through southeast Louisiana on Oct. 28 afternoon.

The storm made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana, as a strong Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds around 110 mph — 1 mph shy of a Category 3 storm. The fast-moving storm brought hurricane-force winds to most of the area and tropical storm-force winds to half of southeast Louisiana, knocking out power for approximately 481,000 Louisiana customers at the peak. 

Assessments on Oct. 29 revealed significant damage to Entergy’s electrical system in South Louisiana. The New Orleans area was heavily impacted, with damage to approximately 320 poles, 80 transformers and 350 spans of wire. 

By early Oct. 29, Entergy’s storm team had ramped up to more than 5,000 workers. Scouts assessed damages and tree trimmers cleared downed trees and debris for distribution line workers to restore power to customers impacted by Zeta. 

Crews prioritize restoring power to critical infrastructure as well as bringing power back to the largest number of customers as safely and quickly as possible. 

Based on historical restoration times, customers in the direct path of a Category 2 hurricane can experience outages for up to 10 days, although 90% of customers will be restored sooner. 

Entergy said it could take up to three days to provide estimated times of restoration to the hardest-hit areas. 

In North and South Carolina, more than 500,000 Duke Energy customers — more than 10% of the company's total customers in the two-state region — were left without power at the height of the storm.

More than 2,600 of Duke Energy's Carolinas-based repair workers began what is expected to be a multi-day power restoration process.

Duke Energy is also moving to the Carolinas more than 650 of its Midwest- and Florida-based repair workers to assist in the restoration. In addition, the company has requested supplemental repair crews from other electric utility companies through the Southeastern Electric Exchange.

As of 5 p.m. on Oct. 29, 369,000 customers — 264,000 in North Carolina and 105,000 in South Carolina — remained without power.

In Georgia, more than 550,000 Georgia Power customers were without power on Oct. 29 morning following the hurricane. Damage and power outages were likely to increase as high winds were continuing across the state.

Georgia Power saw damage because of the already saturated ground, high wind gusts, heavy rain and fallen trees. Once the storm passes, the company must wait until conditions are safe for damage assessment teams to enter the impacted zones and begin the restoration process, followed by repair crews. As weather conditions improve, restoration efforts will accelerate, but it could take an extended period of time for all customers to be restored.

Georgia Power is part of a national mutual assistance network consisting of dozens of utilities from around the country, and the utility is able to tap into reinforcements when needed to restore power to customers following a storm.

CenterPoint Energy, which is also a part of the network, sent more than 70 linemen and support personnel to Mississippi to assist Mississippi Power with power outage restoration resulting from Hurricane Zeta.

"It has been a year like no other, especially for Gulf Coast communities. Our thoughts are with those in areas impacted by Hurricane Zeta, as some of these areas were devastated by Hurricane Delta only weeks ago," said Randy Pryor, Vice President of Distribution Operations of CenterPoint Energy. "Our dedicated teams will work 12- to 16-hour days to help restore electric service as safely and quickly as possible."

About the Author

T&D World Staff

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