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September 15, 2021

Hurricane Ida caused at least 1.2 million electricity customers to lose power

electricity customer outages from Hurricane Ida
Source: Graph by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

Hurricane Ida resulted in service outages for up to 1.2 million electricity customers across eight states, according to situation reports from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER). Hurricane Ida made landfall on the afternoon of Sunday, August 29, as a Category 4 storm near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The hurricane initially caused more than one million customer outages in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. As the storm continued toward the Northeast, it caused outages in several northeastern states on September 1.

CESER’s situation reports show that at least 232,000 customers lost electricity service in five northeastern states (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) as Hurricane Ida crossed over them, although most of those customers had power restored within 24 hours. Service to customers in Mississippi was almost entirely restored by Tuesday, September 7. At that point, about half a million customers in Louisiana were still without power. As of the morning of September 13, CESER estimates that power had been restored to 85% of Louisiana customers.

Electric utilities tend to report loss of service to customers without necessarily identifying whether those customers are residential, commercial, industrial, or some other customer type. Our most recent monthly survey of the electric power industry shows that 158 million electricity customers were in the United States across all sectors as of June 2021, and 2.5 million of these customers were in Louisiana. Within Louisiana, about 1.3 million customers are served by either Entergy Louisiana or Entergy New Orleans.

Entergy estimated that Hurricane Ida damaged 30,000 utility poles, which is nearly as many as the combined effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (17,000 poles) and Hurricane Laura in 2020. Entergy has listed parish-level estimates for power restoration. By its estimates, power may not be restored to certain southeastern Louisiana parishes until near the end of September. These estimates represent no-later-than timelines and near-complete restoration, meaning some customers may have power restored before Entergy’s estimated timeline.

Principal contributor: Owen Comstock