PINEVILLE, La. – Over 100,000 Cleco customers were without power at the height of Hurricane Ida which made landfall in southeast Louisiana yesterday as a Category 4 Hurricane. “Our hardest hit areas are St. Mary, St. Tammany and Washington parishes, and while there is significant damage in southeast Louisiana, the good news is that Ida did not impact our northern service territory which means we can redirect resources from the unaffected areas to impacted areas,” said Clint Robichaux, manager of distribution operations support. “Now that the storm has passed, we will begin our initial damage assessment which includes surveying our transmission and distribution lines and other related equipment, so we can start making repairs and providing estimated restoration times to our customers.”
Key Points on Hurricane Ida:
· Impacted areas are Iberia, St. Mary, St. Tammany and Washington parishes.
· Any damage to transmission infrastructure must be repaired first.
· Trees on power lines have to be picked up before power can be restored.
· Downed or broken electric poles have to be reset or changed out before power can be restored.
· Because of the significant rainfall, flooding will make restoration efforts challenging.
· There is widespread flooding across southeast Louisiana, so crews will need to utilize equipment like drones, helicopters, airboats and marsh buggies to access areas that are difficult to reach with regular bucket and pickup trucks.
· With no power in a large portion of southeast Louisiana, communication also will be a challenge.
· In addition to Cleco employees and native contractors, more than 2,000 workers will be working to restore power (this includes mutual assistance crews, distribution contractors, vegetation specialists and transmission contractors).
· Because the storm did not impact all parishes served by Cleco, the company is shifting resources from the unaffected areas to the impacted areas.
Downed Power Lines:
· Be aware of your surroundings. Never touch a power line directly or use an object such as a stick to touch a power line. Assume all downed lines are live and stay away. Report downed lines immediately by calling 1-800-622-6537 or 911.
· Operate the generator in a well-ventilated area, away from combustible material and keep it free of oil, mud, etc. Never operate a generator indoors.
· Plug appliances directly into portable generators with grounded extension cords that can handle the load. Don't plug a generator cord directly into a wall outlet. A generator can back feed electricity through your home's electric wiring to the entire Cleco circuit. This can cause injury or even death to a worker attempting to repair that circuit and anyone else who may come into contact with power lines. This also can damage your generator.
· Don't exceed the rated capacity of a generator.
· Only refuel a generator when the engine is off and cool.