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Nearly 750k still without power in Louisiana; what energy companies are doing about it
BATON ROUGE - Four days after Hurricane Ida carved a path of destruction through south Louisiana, just under 747,000 Entergy customers remain in the dark.
Early Thursday morning, nearly 80,000 of those impacted by outages were in East Baton Rouge alone. Meanwhile, roughly 30,000 were without power in Ascension Parish and more than 20,000 were affected in Livingston Parish as well.
These statistics are in addition to thousands of outages reported in neighboring parishes.
Alongside Entergy's customers awaiting lights are the area's many Demco customers who are also in the dark.
Demco's post-Ida efforts
Demco representative David Latona spoke with WBRZ Wednesday and confirmed that roughly 70,000 of their members were without power.
Latona said, "Right now we have right at 70,000 that are without power and a large bulk of that, of course like we've seen in the past, is Livingston Parish. And then following not too far behind is our numbers of folks that are out in East Baton Rouge Parish."
According to Latona, these numbers reflected both residential and commercial customers who were still in the dark. In some areas, rising water is causing a problem.
"Damage assessments in Livingston Parish were nothing short of disastrous," said Latona. "Satsuma, the Town of Livingston, and Holden sustained damage that will push the restoration to two-three weeks. In many areas the flooding is still preventing that safe progress."
He went on to say Demco crews had been out and about assessing the effects of Ida and the work that needed to be done.
"Our eyes in the field are certainly revealing what that storm has done," Latona said.
He explained that damage from Ida is extensive, with some areas so destroyed that even completing an assessment was challenging.
Latona said in those situations, Demco utilizes 'right of way' crews to help the company gain access to those areas.
He added that a number of the assessments had to be carried out by foot, with crew members traversing through wooded areas to get to lines.
Demco says it has been carrying out these efforts with the assistance of supporting crews from other states.
The company says, "Crews have been rolling in from Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama and Kentucky to help us restore our system."
According to the energy company, their crews are working 16-hour days that begin 'at 6 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.- every day until the work is completed.'
Entergy's post-Ida efforts
Entergy, likewise, reports that its crews are, "making progress in the Baton Rouge area, restoring power as quickly and safely as possible."
On Wednesday, the company sent a text to customers telling them crews had finished assessing about 46 percent of damages caused by the storm.
"We were able to complete 46% of damage assessment today while also making progress restoring critical infrastructures such as hospitals, nursing homes, first responder facilities and transmission lines. We will provide restoration estimates as soon as assessment is completed."
The company explained that during large-scale disasters such as Ida, power restoration is a multifaceted process.
In a Facebook post, Entergy said, "When crews build their restoration plans, they start at the source. If power can't make it from the generating plant to your local substation, it can't be delivered to your neighborhood or your street.
First, power plants are restored, then large transmission lines.
Next, substations are brought online. Local substations must be functioning in order for energy to reach the power lines on your street."
Entergy representative David Freese says damage assessments are still underway and it hopes to have a restoration timeline available to customers soon. Meanwhile, customers are noticing some discrepancies on the outage map.
"If you are without power and it's showing green on the map, I would encourage customers to call in their outage," said Freese.
But Entergy says, more than likely it's aware.
Entergy is also reminding customers to prepare for outage numbers to go up and down slightly as repairs are made.
"Sometimes our crews have to dentergize an area in order to safely make those repairs," said Freese. "It's unfortunate but it has to be done for the sake of our employees to keep them safe."
In any case, as crews work to restore power, people in Baton Rouge are doing what they can to withstand the heat, heavy traffic triggered by stoplight outages, and the overall anxiety of not knowing how long these conditions will continue.
Click here for a list of grocery stores that are open for business in Baton Rouge.
For the latest traffic information on Thursday morning, WBRZ’s live traffic reports are available to view online from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m.
During the remainder of the day, traffic advisories are tweeted via @WBRZTraffic.
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