City Council orders investigation into recent power outages

City Council orders investigation into power outages

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - If you're fed up with power outages, now is your time to speak up. The City Council ordered an investigation into recent outages across New Orleans.

The Council wants answers from Entergy New Orleans. The council's technical advisors analyzed data from June 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017 and found there were nearly 2,600 power outages during that time. What's more? Nearly 1,500 of those happened "during fair weather conditions." Due to the number of customer complaints, the council ordered an investigation into the reliability of Entergy New Orleans.

"It looks like these outages that we're experiencing aren't necessarily related just to these wind events, aren't necessarily related to lightning nearly as much as they're related to equipment failure. That's really what we're seeing from the data coming back from Entergy," said Logan Burke with the Alliance for Affordable Energy.

Burke is with the Alliance for Affordable Energy, that's a non-profit consumer protection group that advocates for anyone who pays an electricity bill in Louisiana. The organization wants the public to know that they can be a part of the City Council's investigation into the recent power outages. That investigation is known as the "Reliability Docket."

"So, when we're seeing that we've got real problems related to our infrastructure we want to make sure that customers are getting what they're paying for. So, if the utility is saying we need to build something or install something to take care of a reliability issue we want to get to the bottom of what that reliability issue really is," said Burke.

The hardest hit areas were Council Districts D and E, that's communities like Gentilly, the Seventh Ward, Midcity, New Orleans East, the Lower Nine, and Holy Cross. Each of those districts had over 700 power outages in just a year's time.

We reached out to Entergy New Orleans about this story, in a statement Entergy says:

"We appreciate the New Orleans City Council's efforts to address reliability here in the city, as many utilities and their respective regulators are doing across the nation. As we have been - starting with a $30 million transmission system upgrade that was completed in the spring of 2016, followed by a $10 million reliability spend last fall and continuing with a two-year, $30 million storm hardening upgrade that began this spring - we will continue to work with the council and its advisors to address reliability concerns. This docket simply formalizes that.

The council is asking Entergy New Orleans to provide them with monthly reports about any service disruptions, reliability issues as well as a plan to fix the problem. In the meantime, The Alliance for Affordable Energy says anyone with concerns about outages can sign up to get involved.

"The City Council opens these cases or dockets if you will and each one has an opportunity for an organization, for a non-profit organization, a consumer advocacy group, a neighborhood association to be a party to that docket meaning they can submit a filing saying I want information and I'd like to be privy to what's happening here. That's what this is," said Burke.

If you would like to get involved in the Entergy investigation, you must file an intervention request at the Clerk of Council's Office by this Friday, August 25, 2017. You can also find more information about how to do that on the Alliance for Affordable Energy website at http://www.all4energy.org/blog/dont-be-left-in-the-dark

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