Interview: Entergy says more than 40 percent of customers now have power.
BATON ROUGE - Eight days after Hurricane Ida pummeled south Louisiana, roughly 480,000 remain without power across the state.
Just over a week after the storm, Demco and Entergy's outage maps reveal that roughly 3,277 of those who find themselves in the dark are in Baton Rouge. Meanwhile, 30,414 of the outages are in Livingston Parish and 15,671 in Ascension Parish.
The majority of outages in the state, can be found in Jefferson Parish, where over 148,000 Entergy customers are struggling to get by without lights or air conditioning. Area residents have been uniting to supply each other with food and other necessities.
Communities step up
Community effort has played key role in day-to-day life as south Louisiana struggles to recover from Ida's impact.
In some parishes, when lineman from out-of-state show up to help restore power, members of the community step up to provide the energy workers with hot food, drinks, and snacks. Some even wash the worker's clothing for them.
Entergy restores power to 50 percent of customers
Monday afternoon, Entergy announced 50 percent of customers have power.
The majority of East Baton Rouge has been restored, but Entergy said that pockets near Central, Millerville, and O'Neal will have power restored Tuesday.
In New Orleans, about 70 percent of those who lost power have had it restored as of Monday afternoon.
Spokesperson David Freese told WBRZ that weather does play a role in how quickly work can be carried out, adding that the possibility of rain Monday could slow things down.
Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May, also spoke in behalf of the company during a Monday morning phone call. May confirmed that the workers behind the power restoration efforts are made up of 26,000 workers from 41 states.
May said these crew members have restored power to a total of 467,000 customers in a span of seven days.
May went on to explain that now that key pumping stations to refineries are back online, Entergy has been able to restore power to a key crude oil hub for refineries.
Due to the extreme conditions Ida caused, Entergy said it will waive late fees for ELL and ELO customers.
Entergy VP for Distribution Operations, John Hawkins, remarked on the unprecedented damage left in Ida's wake, saying that Ida damaged more poles than Katrina, Delta and Zeta combined.
As of Monday, 3,000 out of 30,000 damaged poles have been replaced and that 1,000 transformers are now successfully repaired.
Officials now worry that the disturbance in gulf could bring rain, which would challenge restoration efforts as crews cannot work in winds over 30 mph.
Amid challenges, Demco makes strides in power restoration
Meanwhile, Demco continues to assess damage and get lights back on in homes and businesses across south Louisiana customers.
During a Monday morning interview with WBRZ, David Latona of Demco confirmed that 71 percent of the energy company's customers have had their power restored.
But other areas were left with so much destruction that power restoration will take time.
Livingston Parish, for example, is an area that withstood severe damage from Ida.
Latona said the further east one travels across Livingston, the more damage they'll see.
But crewmembers are in the area, doing what they can to assist.
Latona said, "We're approaching that 50 percent mark in Livingston Parish," indicating that progress is being made.
Due to the severity of hurricane damage, it may still be a few weeks before the area sees full power restoration.
Other Parishes with severe damage, according to Latona, are East Feliciana Parish and St. Helena Parish.
Latona assured WBRZ that Demco crews are working to carry out power restoration as safely and quickly as possible.
The company took to Facebook Sunday to share pictures of the severe damage Ida left behind. Based on the images, it's clear that navigating the hurricane-ravaged terrain complicates the duties of energy workers.
Over the weekend, Demco announced that 64% of its customer's meters are back in service, as are sixty percent of distribution line miles. It added that 37 of 43 substations are receiving transmission.
Based on these weekend updates from Demco and Entergy, the path toward full power restoration continues, with an end in sight.
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