The storm also damaged some of the utility’s facilities in the New Orleans area, Entergy said Tuesday. As the winds of the storm increased, Entergy disconnected the Waterford 3 nuclear power plant in St. Charles Parish and found that the facility remained in a safe and stable condition. The facility was listed on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website as not producing electricity.
Governor John Bel Edwards, who praised Entergy for building the J. Wayne Leonard Plant, expressed frustration on Tuesday at the pace at which the company was regaining power.
“I’m not happy with 30 days, the Entergy people aren’t happy with 30 days, no one who needs electricity out there is happy with it,” said Edwards, a Democrat. “But I am aware that we have just had the strongest hurricane – at least for the strongest – that the state has ever experienced.”
Entergy supplies electricity to three million customers in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas. It also operates several nuclear power plants, most of them in the south.
The financial costs of storms accumulate for Entergy. In addition to the repairs it is doing because of Ida, the company’s equipment was damaged by three hurricanes in 2020 and a winter storm this year. Entergy told Louisiana regulators that restoration costs in the state related to the previous storms would amount to $ 2.1 billion.
Storms seem to be taking a bigger toll. Regulators had Entergy’s companies reclaimed $ 732 million for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which hit in 2005, according to materials submitted to the Louisiana Public Service Commission by Phillip May, CEO of Entergy Louisiana, in April. Adjusted for inflation, the two hurricanes of 2005 cost the company $ 1 billion in 2021.
The company is seeking permission to charge customers higher electricity tariffs to cover repair costs. Regulators usually approve such requests, but fee payers can object to frequent fee increases.