More than 349,000 Entergy customers are without power due to Hurricane Rita. Entergy has restored service to more than 416,000 customers, more than half of those affected by Hurricane Rita, the second-worst storm to strike the company's four- state utility system in the company's history. Customer outages due to Hurricane Rita peaked on Sunday morning at more than 766,000.
Restoration efforts have been completed in Arkansas and Mississippi. Resources from these areas are being shifted to the heavily damaged areas of Louisiana and southeast Texas.
Entergy continues to redeploy resources into southwest Louisiana and parts of southeast Louisiana that remain without power after Katrina. More than 120,000 customers remain without power due to Rita after peaking at more than 387,000. Damage assessments indicate widespread and extensive damage to our distribution system in the southwest area of the state.
Entergy is coordinating with the city of New Orleans Department of Safety & Permits to return power to homes and businesses in the areas below St. Charles Ave. south to the river and S. Carrollton east to Market St. over the next several days. Entergy is prepared to restore power to customers who can safely take power in the areas above St. Charles Ave. north to S. Claiborne and S. Carrollton east to Martin Luther King Blvd. Entergy is working with the Department of Safety and Permits to energize these areas, but it could be several weeks before power is restored. Many homes above St. Charles Ave. experienced flooding and will require repairs by a licensed electrician and certified by a city inspector before receiving power. The city inspector will identify for Entergy those areas where power can be restored safely.
Damage is widespread. Entergy's transmission system has extensive damage. Preliminary damage assessments show 288 lines and 283 substations out of service. Both wooden and steel structures are damaged. ey transmission lines are out of service that will affect service restoration until they return. Hurricane Rita at its peak took out of service 82% of Entergy's Texas transmission lines and 38% of the transmission lines in southwest Louisiana, including all of the lines west of Lafayette, Louisiana.
Resources from around the country are helping Entergy restore service. Entergy continues building its workforce, and has more than 13,000 linemen and vegetation workers, plus 3000 other support personnel, committed to restore service following Hurricane Rita.
Due to transmission system damage by Hurricane Rita, and resulting load management issues, there have been interruptions on a rotational basis to avoid a blackout that could affect the area for an extended period. When demand for electricity exceeds supply, rolling outages become necessary to ensure that even more damage does not occur. Cooler weather in the area and restored transmission and distribution lines allowed Entergy to send additional power into the area to help meet the demand. Entergy may still need to implement outages to balance the system depending on customer demand.
Many utilities are helping Entergy restore service to its customers, including utilities from Texas such as CenterPoint Energy, Texas Utilities and American Electric Power.
The Power of Hope Fund tops $3.3 million. In response to the widespread damages and devastation caused by Hurricane Rita, Entergy has expanded the scope of the Power of Hope Fund to provide assistance to victims of this latest storm. The fund, which currently stands at $3.3 million, was created to help Entergy customers and employees recover from Hurricane Katrina. Entergy launched the Power of Hope Fund and seeded the fund with an initial corporate donation of $1 million. The fund will focus on helping victims transition from shelters back into the community. Applications for those needing assistance are available at www.powerofhope.com. Any contributions received to the fund will also be used to provide assistance to victims of Rita. Donors will be able to designate whether they want their contributions to be used to aid hurricane victims in Louisiana, Mississippi or Texas.