The first lights came back on in the New Orleans area since Hurricane Ida early Wednesday morning, with Entergy announcing it had restored power to a limited area in New Orleans East.
The company was able to bring those customers back using electricity from the New Orleans Power Station, a natural gas plant in New Orleans East, according to a press release from the utility.
“While initial service can be provided to some customers, the full restoration will still take time given the significant damage across the region,” according to the press release. “Crews will have to methodically bring back additional transmission lines over time to provide other pathways for power to enter the region, helping to maintain stability of the system throughout the complete restoration process.”
More than 200,000 homes and businesses get their power from Entergy New Orleans. After the first power was restored Wednesday morning, Entergy’s outage tracker reported about 173,000 were still without power. It was not immediately clear whether that figure was accurate since there have been errors on Entergy’s outage map since Ida.
It’s not clear how many customers got their power back, but the restoration marks the first time power came back for anyone in the region since eight transmission lines went offline in Ida’s strong winds Sunday evening.
It was also not clear how long it would take to get additional electricity into the region served by those lines – which also includes Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes – or what the timeline would be for getting more customers online.
Entergy New Orleans announced the restoration in a tweet about 1:20 a.m.
Entergy has taken the first step to restoring power back to the region. The first light shined early this morning in New Orleans East. Crews will have to methodically bring back additional transmission lines over time to provide additional pathways for progress. pic.twitter.com/ZCRs1aDB15
— Entergy New Orleans (@EntergyNOLA) September 1, 2021
Entergy’s outage map showed several neighborhoods near Interstate 10 as having had their power restored as of Wednesday morning.
After the storm, Entergy had proposed two possibilities for getting the lights back on in New Orleans.
One would see them getting the transmission lines back up and running, allowing power to flow into the region from the national grid.
A second option would be to create a temporary, isolated grid that included only the New Orleans area and use power plants in New Orleans East and on the West Bank to provide some power.
The utility had previously cast those proposals as mutually exclusive options, though their press release on Wednesday suggests that after its initial use of the New Orleans East power plant is is now planning to turn its attention to transmission lines.
The total blackout that’s engulfed New Orleans since Hurricane Ida hit could begin to lift — at least partially — by late Wednesday, Entergy N…