Transformers and downed distribution poles in New Orleans following Hurricane Ida (Marta Jewson, The Lens)

Roughly 98 percent of New Orleans electric customers have had their power restored by Thursday  — 11 days after Hurricane Ida knocked out power to the entire city — according to Entergy executives in a morning press call. The company says it has achieved its estimate from last week that it would restore the vast majority of customers in the city by Wednesday night.

“Last night we reached a major milestone,” said Entergy Louisiana CEO Phillip May on Thursday.

The company also moved up its estimated restoration times for the hardest hit areas of the city — including Irish Bayou, Lake Catherine and Venetian Isles — from Sept. 29 to Sept. 12.

“We’re happy and excited to get them sooner than we originally estimated,” Entergy New Orleans CEO Deanna Rodriguez said. “Our 26,000 line crew that have come to the state of Louisiana, they are tremendously wonderful, they are superstars.”

Customers outside of those hard hit areas that still lack power may have electric damage to their homes that need to be fixed before Entergy can restore power, said Entergy Louisiana Vice President of Distribution Operations John Hawkins.

“If you live in a neighborhood that has had power restored but you don’t have power at your home, you are likely to have electrical damage. If you are without power, check for damage to your electrical equipment attached to your home or business and contact an electrician to make repairs.”

Hawkins said that if there is no damage, customers should text “OUT” to 36778 or call 1-800-9-OUTAGE. He also urged people to be cautious while examining electric equipment.

“The wires will be live. Be smart, be safe, and call a licensed electrician to check it out for you. Sometimes damage can be subtle.”

May said that regionally, the company had restored 682,000 customers out of the 902,000 that lost power during the storm. 

As executives have previously said, after the substantial restoration of power in Louisiana’s two biggest metro areas — New Orleans and Baton Rouge — the company’s efforts will now move toward rebuilding the systems in the hardest hit areas of the state — places like Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, much of Plaquemines Parish outside of Belle Chasse and St. Charles Parish — where power isn’t expected to be fully restored until the end of September. 

“We’re not backing down. We’re not slowing our momentum. In fact we’re picking up,” May said. 

Michael Isaac Stein

Michael Isaac Stein covers New Orleans' cultural economy and local government for The Lens. Before joining the staff, he freelanced for The Lens as well as The Intercept, CityLab, The New Republic, and...