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Still 1 million in dark after Ida, damage goes northeast, but Entergy progresses

Highlights

Floods, tornados threaten Mid-Atlantic

'A sign of hope' seen in New Orleans

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More than a million electricity customers were left without power around 1 pm CT Sept. 1 as the remnants of Hurricane Ida continued from its initial landfall in Louisiana into the Northeastern US, but progress was made Louisiana.

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Utility websites showed more than 13,000 customers in Pennsylvania were left in the dark as the storm wrought havoc along the Atlantic Seaboard from Maryland to New York. The National Hurricane Center said the storm threatens flash flooding from Philadelphia and Washington DC to Boston, with maximum sustained winds of 30 mph.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Delaware, parts of eastern Maryland, southeastern Pennsylvania and most of New Jersey until 10 pm ET Sept. 1.

Related content: Helipad damages hampering restoration of offshore US Gulf oil and gas production

New York's new Governor Kathy Hochul on Sept. 1 directed state agencies to prepare for the storm's arrival along with potential tornados and heavy rains through Sept. 2.

Accuweather said, "Even after Ida moves off the New England coast later Sept. 2, residents across the Northeast may still feel the storm's wrath in the days that follow."

'A sign of hope' in the Big Easy

Entergy, whose utility customers were hit hardest in Louisiana and Mississippi, reported Sept. 1 "a sign of hope ... as Entergy crews turn power on for some customers in eastern New Orleans," after all of the major transmission lines supplying the metro area were severed by the storm.

Power demand in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which serves most of the area of Louisiana and Mississippi hardest hit by the storm, continued to revive toward normal levels Sept. 1, with the actual peakload tracking slightly higher than the forecast of 91.2 GW, but this remains well below the 110.9 GW average of the previous four Wednesdays in August.

At MISO's Louisiana Hub, the real-time on-peak locational marginal price was about $40.80/MWh, compared with the average of $39.11/MWh for average real-time on-peak LMP for the previous four Wednesdays in August.

Trading on MISO Louisiana Hub day-ahead on-peak power remained quiet on the Intercontinental Exchange.

At the PJM West Hub, real-time on-peak LMPs averaged $43.35/MWh around 3 pm ET Sept. 1, compared with an average of about $43.30/MWh for the previous four Wednesdays.

On ICE, PJM West Hub day-ahead on-peak power for delivery Sept. 2 was up 75 cents on the day to $39.25/MWh, compared with $57.94/MWh for delivery on the previous four Thursdays.

Restoration efforts

In Entergy's Deep South footprint, the company said, "With extensive damage to the system across the region, much of the redundancy built into the electric system is limited."

Therefore, Entergy cannot as easily move power around to customers and "limits options to power customers in the event of equipment failure or additional damage to the system."

However, Entergy had been able to return 68 of its 220 affected substations to service, along with 44 of 210 affected transmission lines across Louisiana and as of 8 am Sept. 1.

But the utility also faces massive numbers on its distribution system, including 5,112 poles, 5,906 transformers and 1,185 spans of wire damaged or destroyed.

"In Louisiana, our current focus is on completing damage assessment as quickly as possible, providing for the logistics needs of our workers and aligning our distribution and transmission recovery to provide electricity to as many customers as quickly as possible," Entergy said in a Sept. 1 statement. "In Mississippi, damage assessment is nearly complete. ... We expect to restore customers in the north and central areas of the state today, and in the south by tomorrow."

Entergy was still assessing the damage in Louisiana, but this work was complete Sept. 1 in Mississippi, and the company expects all of its Mississippi customers who are able to receive power to do so by the end of Sept. 2.

Cleco, the second-hardest-hit utility in Ida's wake, on Sept. 1 said it had found more than 100 poles on the ground, 400 broken crossarms, 65 damaged transformers, more than 70 spans of wire down and more than 500 trees on power lines.

Nevertheless, Cleco estimated that customers in much of its footprint affected by the storm, especially essential services and medical facilities, could have service restored Sept. 1.

Utilities with more than 1,000 customers offline due to Hurricane Ida
As of 2 pm CT Aug. 31
Georgia
Georgia Power
2,219
Louisiana
Entergy
769,631
Cleco
90,243
Dixie Electric Membership Corporation*
70,000
Washington St. Tammany Electric Cooperative
38,559
Mississippi
Magnolia Electric Power
18,283
Entergy
10,413
Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association
1,926
Pennsylvania
First Energy
5,297
PPL
4,267
*Dixie Electric Membership Corporation's outage map was broken, but it estimates customers without service to number between 60,000 and 80,000.
Sources: Various utilities plus PowerOutage.us.