Entergy searching for ways to cover over $2 billion cost of post-Ida utility work
BATON ROUGE - After Hurricane Ida hit south Louisiana with a devastating blow, Entergy was faced with a lengthy list of repairs and improvements that the company is still working to complete.
As the work continues, some customers are wondering how such improvements will be paid for.
The price tag for the damage and recovery work, according to Entergy, is over $2 billion dollars and the company says it doesn't want to saddle customers with bills that reflect the hefty expense.
That's why Entergy is reportedly working with officials to find other sources that can recoup as much of the $2 billion as possible.
Ida was only one of four named hurricanes that swept through the region this year and two of those storms, Ida and Laura, were among the strongest in Louisiana's history.
So, as Entergy embarked on recovery efforts, the company used all of its available funds to cover associated expenses. Entergy New Orleans, for example, had to use $39 million dollars while responding to storm recovery efforts.
But, this kind of insurance is a cushion and is paid for by ratepayers.
As much more work still needs to be completed, utility companies are scrambling to find additional funds to cover the cost of the efforts.
In addition to picking up the pieces left behind after a series of recent storms, Entergy is working to maintain reliable service.
WBRZ's Dana DiPiazza spoke with Entergy representative David Freese on the matter and Freese said Entergy is working to rebuild more than 200 transmission structures, repair another 300, over 35,000 distribution poles, and spans of wire that went down during Hurricane Ida.
The plan is to eventually spread the remaining cost, after federal funding, across all customers statewide. But, ultimately, the public service commission is still working to gather that information and come up with a plan.
Freese says this may take quite some time to complete.
The company is also working on new utility projects that will protect the power grid in parts of Baton Rouge. That work, which is expected to begin soon, will stretch from Highland Road and Bluebonnet Boulevard to Pecue Lane.
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