Entergy working to replace damaged streetlights

Published 2:27 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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LAPLACE — Neighborhoods in St. John the Baptist Parish should be once again shining, according to two Entergy officials who addressed parish council members this past Tuesday night in LaPlace.

Albert Galindo, director of the electrical company’s street lighting throughout southeast Louisiana, said Entergy has contracted with two additional outside electric companies to hasten the process of replacing streetlights that have been dark since Hurricane Ida’s August landfall.

He said late in 2021 the company hired a third-party contractor to assess damage in the parish, and it was determined that more than 35% of streetlights in the parish were either damaged or in some cases had been blown off of light poles.

Galindo said Entergy bills the parish monthly for 6,360 streetlights monthly, not including municipalities.

After addressing the street lighting damage, Galindo said the company quickly realized additional resources were going to be needed, so they put out a request for proposal for outside energy companies.

Galindo and Entergy supervisor Mark Johnson agreed work should be complete by the end of June.

In response to a question from Parish President Jaclyn Hotard, Galindo said crews have been provided maps showing where work needs to be done.

Entergy will issue credits to the parish for the lights that have not been operational since the storm. Entergy bills are on what is called a billing suppression, meaning until all credits are applied, the parish will not receive a bill.

“I’m hoping that we start seeing our contractors do repairs in the area so folks will know that we are trying to bring things back to normal,” Galindo said.

Entergy sustained what he called “historic damage” during Ida, calling the storm the most impactful event in his 30 years in the energy business. He reported more than 30,000 poles were damaged statewide, with streetlights on many of those.

He said the damage was double than what was incurred during Hurricane Laura and more than Hurricanes Katrina, Ike and Zeta combined.

In St. John Parish, Galindo said nearly 1,100 of the 12,000 poles owned by Entergy were damaged.

Galindo explained that Entergy’s first priority immediately after a storm is to restore electricity to residents and businesses, followed by removing debris and wires while following environmental guidelines for removing transformers.

Once completed, the company will direct its attention to streetlights.