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Utility: Much More Power Cut Than Necessary Mardi Gras Night

The court sought the law ministry’s response after going through a statement by the World Health Organisation, which has declared virginity testing as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable.

The court sought the law ministry’s response after going through a statement by the World Health Organisation, which has declared virginity testing as unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable.

The utility company serving New Orleans appears to have cut three times as much electricity as it needed to during emergency winter weather blackouts, slashing power to roughly 26,000 families and businesses on Mardi Gras night, company executives said Tuesday.

NEW ORLEANS: The utility company serving New Orleans appears to have cut three times as much electricity as it needed to during emergency winter weather blackouts, slashing power to roughly 26,000 families and businesses on Mardi Gras night, company executives said Tuesday.

Officials with Entergy New Orleans told the City Council that emergency shutdowns ordered by a regional grid manager last week called for the utility to reduce the city’s power consumption by 26 megawatts. Instead, more than 80 megawatts of electricity was shut off, based on current estimates.

The blackouts lasted more than an hour.

It was an unwelcome revelation to members of the City Council’s utility committee. Council members decried a lack of advance information on the rolling blackout, which left families unexpectedly shivering and businesses without power. Among those affected were restaurants filled to their pandemic capacity on Mardi Gras night.

The subfreezing weather and rolling blackouts added misery to what was already a muted Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. Pandemic worries had prompted city officials to close bars and implement strict crowd controls in the French Quarter to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Other areas fared worse. Power blackouts hit broad sections of Louisiana and Texas, leaving millions without heat while also knocking out some public water systems. Nearly 80 deaths have been attributed to the weather.

I am just sitting here just seething and bewildered at the same time, panel member Jay Banks said.

The City Council sought information on why power was cut with little or no warning to several neighborhoods and to part of the city’s drinking water system. The blackouts came on the night of Feb. 16 as subfreezing temperatures hit much of the South.

Entergy officials said the nonprofit organization that manages much of the Southern power grid the Midcontinent Independent System Operator ordered Entergy companies to cut 222 megawatts of power to customers in order to avoid a major regional blackout during the winter weather crisis.

But why Entergy New Orleans cut more than 80 megawatts when required to cut only 26 was not yet clear, utility officials said.

Entergy New Orleans CEO David Ellis said the company would try to provide answers in 30 days.

Were trying to walk through all of this detail and understand exactly how that happened and prevent that from happening again, Ellis said.

Council President Helena Moreno called for an independent investigation of the rolling blackouts in New Orleans.

The council regulates Entergy New Orleans. Entergy Louisiana, which serves other parts of the state, is regulated by the Louisiana Public Service Commission, which is to discuss power issues on Wednesday.

Entergy companies also serve parts of Arkansas, Mississippi and southeast Texas.

New Orleans’ water system was affected when power was cut to a facility that pumps drinking water from the Mississippi River. Entergy’s John Hawkins said the facility should not have been included in the rolling blackouts and that the problem would be addressed. Water system officials said they were able to operate the pumps using generator power.

Company officials vowed to review the system for rolling blackouts to avoid other such actions, and they said they would work to improve advance notice of rolling blackouts stressing that the blackouts often must be implemented quickly to avoid larger, longer lasting blackouts.

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first published:February 24, 2021, 01:49 IST