Hurricane Ida wreaks havoc on New Orleans power supply

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According to New Orleans power utility, Entergy, all eight transmission lines that deliver power into the New Orleans area are currently out of service due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida.

Ida made landfall in Louisianna on Sunday 29 August. Although it has been downgraded from a category 4 to a category 1 storm, it brought 150mph (240km/h) winds when it hit, as well as significant flooding and storm surge.

According to CNN, significant power outages continue in Louisiana, while in neighbouring Mississippi, 71,894 customers are in the dark. Overall, there are 1,082,955 customers in both states without power.

FirstEnergy crews assist with Hurricane Ida restoration efforts

The power outage in New Orleans has heightened the city’s vulnerability to flooding and left hundreds of thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration in the severe summer heat. According to a statement from Entergy, “We are currently working to assess the damage and identify a path forward to restore power, to those who can take it, in the area. We have provided back-up generation to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB).”

The outage means the S&WB will be challenged to power its drainage system amid some of the worst rain the city has seen in recent years. The pump systems need about 52MW of power to be run at full capacity, which is required in the most severe storms.

The S&WB has about 70MW of in-house power after bringing one of its major turbines back online, which should be enough to weather the storm, say officials.

Ida came ashore on the 16th anniversary of the infamous Hurricane Katrina, a category three storm that resulted in approximately 1.1 million people being affected to some extent by the flooding. Some 250,000 homes in total were destroyed, and 785,000 people evacuated.

The most severe damage from Katrina was caused by water, as natural gas facilities and electrical substations were flooded interrupting electricity supply to roughly 1.3 million customers.