A slow-moving Hurricane Ida has left all of Orleans Parish customers without power due to "catastrophic transmission damage," according to Entergy New Orleans.
The intense storm had caused all eight transmission lines into the New Orleans area to go down, spokesman Brandon Scardigli said in an emailed statement. That created a load imbalance that knocked all power generation in the region offline, Scardigli said.
The company is working to "assess a path forward to restore power to those who can take it" - apparently meaning those who hadn't lost electricity for other reasons during the storm - but those repairs would not be completed Sunday night, Scardigli said.
The only power in the city is coming from generators, according to Homeland Security. No further information was immediately available.
In 2008's Hurricane Gustav, nearly all of Entergy's transmission lines into the city failed, and regulators and elected officials ripped the company for the poor condition of its grid. Of the 14 lines that brought power to New Orleans at the time, 13 failed.
Before the power company's announcement, Ida had left more than 614,000 Entergy customers in Louisiana without power as of Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
Ida made landfall twice Sunday, around noon at Port Fourchon and near Galliano around 2 p.m. as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. Since then, the storm has weakened slightly as it has moved ashore with winds of 120 miles per hour.
The National Hurricane Center reported at 7 p.m. that the eye of the storm was roughly 25 miles southwest of New Orleans and 55 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, moving northwest at 10 mph.
The highest affected areas for power outages were Jefferson and Orleans parishes, where around 372,000 Entergy customers were without power at 7 p.m. due to the high winds that have been ravaging the area since Sunday morning.
Every Entergy customer in Orleans Parish is without power as of 7:15 p.m. due to the "catastrophic transmission damage."
More than 195,000 customers are without power as of 7 p.m., with most areas affected to one degree or another.
Cleco, which accounts for most of the customers on the north shore, reported that nearly 85% of its customers in the parish had lost power, which makes up nearly 80,000 customers, as of 7 p.m. Nearly 20,000 of those come from the Covington area and nearly 14,000 were out of power in and around Slidell.
"As Hurricane Ida moves inland, power outages are increasing," said spokesman Clint Robichaux, in a 5 p.m. update. "Once the storm passes and it is safe for crews to assess damage and make repairs, estimated restoration times will be provided," he said.
Cleco also has brought in 2,000 outside contractors to add to its staff to affect repairs when the storm allows.
Elsewhere, about 11,000 Plaquemines Parish customers were without power, as were around 15,000 households in St. John the Baptist Parish and 11,00 in St. Bernard. Also badly affected was Lafourche Parish, where about 37,000 were out. More than 40% of Cleco customers in Washington Parish are also without power as of 7:30 p.m.
People should stay away from downed power lines and electric equipment and report it immediately by calling 1-800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).
"Do not walk in standing water and do not venture into areas of debris, since energized and dangerous power lines may not be visible," Entergy said.