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Suit faults Entergy maintenance for Ida woes

by The Associated. Press | September 21, 2021 at 1:53 a.m.

NEW ORLEANS -- A lawsuit alleges that Louisiana's largest electric utility used a "bubble gum and super glue" approach to maintenance and construction that left customers sweltering in the dark without adequate sewage treatment after Hurricane Ida.

The suit was filed Saturday against Entergy Corp. and its subsidiaries Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans. Entergy has said about 902,000 customers lost power after the major hurricane made landfall on Aug. 29.

Entergy's website indicated that about 22,200 users were without power Monday, nearly 11,500 of them in Lafourche Parish, which Ida hit with sustained winds of up to 150 mph.

Entergy does not comment on pending litigation, corporate spokesman Neal Kirby said in an email Monday.

The suit seeks to represent everyone who lost power, and Judge Rachel Johnson will decide whether to certify it as a class action claim. The named plaintiffs include 14 people and three companies.

"Before Hurricane Ida hit Southeast Louisiana, it was Entergy's position that its systems which provided power to 1.1 million residents and businesses, could withstand winds of 150 mph" but a number of studies had indicated otherwise, the lawsuit said.

Although climate change is bringing more frequent and intense hurricanes, it added that "grossly inadequate maintenance and inspection," antiquated equipment, and shoddy maintenance "created a system that could not and would not sustain even a hurricane with wind gusts below 100 miles per hour.".

Underground cables would have protected power transmission in southeast Louisiana, the lawsuit said. "Instead, Entergy chose the bubble gum and super glue approach to protect their billions of dollars instead of their customers," it said.

In the New Orleans area, the eight transmission lines bringing power to more than 900,000 people failed during Ida, despite storm damage less severe than that wreaked by Ida further to the south and west in Louisiana.

With power out to 84 sewer lift stations, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans "was forced to pump raw sewage into the Mississippi River. This continued through September 6, 2021," the lawsuit said.

Print Headline: Suit faults Entergy maintenance for Ida woes

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