Major electrical tower collapse leaves New Orleans completely without power

A major electrical transmission tower in Jefferson Parish collapsed in the intense winds of Hurricane Ida on Aug. 29.(WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A major electrical transmission tower has collapsed, leaving Orleans Parish completely without power.

An official in Jefferson Parish says a transmission tower that provides power for New Orleans and the east bank of the parish has collapsed into the river near Bridge City. According to the parish’s Emergency Management Director, cables strung across the Mississippi River are now in the water, but darkness is hampering visibility.

Major transmission tower collapses in Jefferson Parish; before and after.
Major transmission tower collapses in Jefferson Parish; before and after.(WVUE)
Major transmission tower collapses in Jefferson Parish; before and after.
Major transmission tower collapses in Jefferson Parish; before and after.(WVUE)

All eight major transmission lines are down, according to Entergy. Due to the weather, they cannot assess the damage. Entergy is providing backup power to the city’s Sewerage and Water Board, but there are significant impacts to the pumping stations.

A boil water advisory has been issued for the entire east bank of Jefferson Parish.

Almost one million people were without power statewide as of 11 p.m. View the outage map here.

New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board provided the following statement:

As a city, we are currently experiencing the worst impacts from Hurricane Ida yet. Although we have lost all Entergy power, our teams are working quickly and decisively to make up for this with our self-generated power sources, including Turbines 4, 5, and 6 and EMD, as well as backup generators located at our drainage pumping stations. The Entergy loss of power is a significant loss of power for our 60 hz pumps and the 25 hz pumps we power through the frequency changers, but we are using our self-generated sources of power to drain stormwater and pump drinking water into the city. Lastly, this power loss also impacts our sewer pumping stations. Currently, there is no backup power to operate any of those that were impacted. We are assessing how many of the 84 stations are impacted but the number may be very significant. We have worked to obtain backup power for some of these stations and we will mobilize those units when it is safe to traverse the city. In order to prevent sewage backups, we have asked residents to limit water usage at home, thus decreasing the amount of wastewater we must pump and treat. This is a rapidly-developing and extremely fluid situation. We will keep you updated as circumstances develop.

Entergy released the following information:

  • As a result of Hurricane Ida’s catastrophic intensity, all eight transmission lines that deliver power into the New Orleans area are currently out of service. When this occurred, it caused a load imbalance in the area and resulted in generation in the area coming offline.
  • We are currently working to assess damage and identify a path forward to restore power, to those who can take it, in the area.
  • We have provided back-up generation to the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.
  • Power will not be restored this evening, but we will continue work to remedy.

Governor John Bel Edwards released the following:

We are in communication with Entergy and the City. Right now all we can do is shelter in place and when it is safe at first light they will begin to assess the damage. We do not know how long power will be out. We will have a better idea when damage assessments start in the morning. They have utility crews staged and ready to assess damage. Everyone needs to stay away from downed power lines.

Written by Mykal Vincent

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