Arkansas utility companies helping get power back on in Louisiana, Mississippi
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, Ark- Millions of people are without power in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Ida. But resources from Arkansas are helping people get back online.
Entergy Arkansas is assisting our neighbors south by sending hundreds of employees to help get Louisiana and Mississippi back on the grid. After Ida knocked out power and cell service to many.
“We work with our sister operations company [and] they determine their needs; they send out a call for help. And so, Entergy Arkansas has answered that with five hundred and twenty teammates at this point,” says Brandi Hinkle, Entergy Arkansas communications specialist.
Of the 520 employees assisting with the effort to get power back on for residents include linemen, clean-up crews. As well as management staff and storekeepers who have inventory to replace power poles, transmission lines, and wires.
The group left on Friday and Saturday, starting their work once the winds from Ida calmed down.
“[They] will assess the damage. We will send ground crew wherever we can. But we are also using helicopters and drones right now to send us footage, to see where the greatest amount of damage is,” she said. “What we want to do is then, be able to put as many people as possible back online, as quickly as possible.”
Entergy serves over 1,000,000 customers in the New Orleans region. Its transmission system was severely damaged by Ida with the loss of eight transmission lines. Causing over 787,000 people to be left in the dark in just The Big Easy.
With thousands of others in neighboring areas of Louisiana and Mississippi in the same boat. Hinkle says it could take weeks before one regains power.
“We try to get those emergency outlets, for example, hospitals, ambulance, fire, police departments, get power back to them as quickly as possible. So that they can help serve those areas that are in need. And then again, we will start to re-energize when it is safe to do so, communities, homes, neighborhoods, businesses,” says Hinkle.
Employees of Arkansas-based Electric Cooperative and utility personnel from roughly thirty states are also in or are en route to assist with a large number of outages.
There is no timeline for when Entergy units will arrive back in Arkansas.
“We will be there as long as it takes to restore power to our neighbors in Louisiana and Mississippi,”
Additional manpower from Entergy Arkansas could help if requested.