Thousands remain without power throughout with record cold, bitter wind chill

Winter freeze causing widespread power outages

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Thousands of residents throughout the greater Baton Rouge area remain without power due to icy conditions as of early Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Most of the power outages are in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, and St. Helena Parishes. However, all parishes within the WAFB viewing area are experiencing some power outages, including Ascension, Iberville, St. Helena, and West Baton Rouge parishes.

VIEW OUTAGE MAPS

As of Tuesday morning, 68,561 Entergy Louisiana customers are currently without power.

According to Entergy Louisiana’s website, most customers in Ascension, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, and West Baton Rouge parishes can expect to have power restored by Tuesday evening.

David Freese, a spokesperson for Entergy Louisiana, says the company will have additional crews working in the Baton Rouge area Tuesday but the weather is hindering their efforts.

Entergy spokesman David Freese on power restoration

He says freezing temperatures allow ice to stay around longer which hampers crews’ restoration efforts. (Listen to more of his comments in the video above)

Most customers in East Baton Rouge Parish can expect power to be restored by Wednesday evening (Feb. 17).

Entergy Louisiana issued the following statement to WAFB on Tuesday morning:

Entergy Louisiana has started power outages for its customers across the southwestern portion of its service territory. The company is taking this action as directed by our reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, as a last resort and in order to prevent a more extensive, prolonged power outage that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid. Additionally, Entergy continues to follow a directive by MISO to reduce load in the southwestern region of its service territory.

Crews have taken proactive steps to prepare and protect our assets from the extreme cold as well as placed additional power generation into service. Due to bitterly cold temperatures and the winter storm, the demand for electricity has reached an all-time high.

“We apologize for the inconvenience these outages may cause, but we have an unusual situation right now driven by unusual conditions. We are working to respond and restore power as soon as it is safely possible,” said John Hawkins, vice president of distribution operations. “This loss of generation combined with the peak load has caused a strain on the system. As a result, we are short of the power needed to meet our customers’ demands in that area.”

Depending on conditions, individual customers may experience multiple outages during the day. Entergy will work to limit the duration of each outage, but due to significant demand on the system and generation outages, options may be limited.

MISO is directing actions to be taken to restore the system to normal operations as quickly as possible and will direct Entergy to stop these outages as soon as the power shortfall no longer threatens the integrity of the rest of the electrical power system.

If customers decide to use a portable generator, use it safely and DO NOT run it in an enclosed space. If connecting to the whole house, do so only if the connection has been installed by a licensed electrician to prevent back feed on to the distribution system.

We continuously keep our communities informed throughout a storm. Customers are encouraged to download our free app for their smartphone at entergy.com/app and sign up for text alerts. Customers can also stay up to date by visiting the Entergy Storm Center website. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook or check for updates with your local news media like radio, television and newspapers.

MISO comprises a pool of electricity generators and users that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and as reliability coordinator is responsible for monitoring the portion of the electric grid it oversees and providing instructions to its members regarding actions needed to maintain reliability in that portion of the grid. In extreme and unusual circumstances, such actions may include these types outages occurring today.”

Thousands remain without power in the Baton Rouge area Tuesday, Feb. 16 morning

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WAFB’s Dr. Steve Capraotta says bitter cold wind chill will persist for most areas of the area until midday.

Hour by hour temps & wind chill
Hour by hour temps & wind chill (Source: WAFB)
Hour by hour temps and wind chill
Hour by hour temps and wind chill (Source: WAFB)
Liz Koh surveys Power Outages in Baton Rouge area in Titan 9 - Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

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