Fears of widespread, long-term power outages in the city of New Orleans will not be realized, according to a time line released by the electric company Entergy on Friday, with the company claiming the entire city will have power again by Wednesday despite taking a significant hit from Hurricane Ida.
More than 900,000 customers are without power in Louisiana, including 87% of New Orleans, according to the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
Though New Orleans officials never released official estimates for restoration times, some in nearby suburbs—like Kenner—are said to expect outages for three weeks.
Along with New Orleans, Entergy’s “preliminary estimate” released Friday says that Kenner and most of the other inner suburbs should have power restored by Wednesday.
The Baton Rouge area, which was also hard-hit by the storm, should have power back by Tuesday, Entergy said.
“These are general descriptions of Entergy’s local network. Cities and towns within those networks in some cases will see power earlier than those dates,” the company said in a statement.
What We Don’t Know
There isn’t a time frame right now for when power will return to Louisiana’s coastal areas, which took the brunt of Ida’s impact when it made landfall on Sunday with 150 mph maximum sustained winds, tying it with Hurricane Laura of last year and the 1856 Last Island hurricane as the most powerful storms ever to hit Louisiana.
Electricity has started trickling back into New Orleans after the city was cut off from all eight of its power sources during Hurricane Ida, which notably destroyed a 400-foot-tall transmission tower to the west of New Orleans. The lack of power has also led to a critical shortage of fuel in the state, as people rush to refuel generators, which have been one of the only reliable power sources after the storm. GasBuddy reported on Thursday that more than 65% of gas stations in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge were completely without fuel. In response to the fuel shortage, President Joe Biden authorized the Energy Department on Thursday to use all tools possible to ease the shortage in Louisiana, which is also being hurt by the shutdown of most Gulf of Mexico oil production over the past week. On Thursday afternoon, the Energy Department announced it would release 1.5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help alleviate the fuel shortage.
The New Orleans Saints will open their season against the Green Bay Packers on September 12 in Jacksonville, Florida, instead of New Orleans, even though much of the New Orleans metropolitan area may have power back by that time. The move was announced earlier this week, at a time when power restoration was expected to take much longer.