NEW ORLEANS — State officials are pushing for a closer look into New Orleans’ electrical grid after Entergy blamed a major power outage on an animal for the second time in a week.
In the middle of a mild afternoon Friday, the lights went out for nearly four thousand customers in Lakeview, Lake Terrace, and Lake Vista areas of New Orleans for about forty minutes.
Entergy blamed the issue on a squirrel that got into a substation.
“We look out here and we can see the squirrels,” said Jim Bulling. Bulling lives across the street from Substation C in West End. Every morning from his breakfast table, he watches a swam of squirrels tightrope along the power lines in front of his home, near the substation.
He also pointed out several large bird nests inside the equipment at the substation.
“So yeah, there’s a lot of wildlife activity around here,” Bulling laughed. “And as spring gets sprung, I guess there’ll be a lot more animal activity.”
But this is the second time this week an animal has been blamed for a big outage. Entergy said a bird was to blame for leaving 10 thousand people in the dark on Wednesday.
That issue took a full day to resolve. Entergy blamed a bird and a balloon for a blackout in 2021, and a bird for an outage in 2020.
Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Craig Green says the city’s grid needs a closer look.
In a statement to Eyewitness News Friday, he called on his own agency to hire private engineers and get answers.
“The publics’ inability to get sensible answers as to why extended power outages are happening speaks to the reason the LPSC need to hire independent engineers. At least then the state’s regulators can have the answers to the questions customers are asking about whether the grid is in good shape or if the grid is properly maintained.”
Back in 2019, City Council fined Entergy 1 million dollars for repeated outages. That case is still being contested in court. The lights also still keep going out.
“I’m not sure what to think. I just hope they’ll be able to straighten the situation out,” said Lakeview resident Anthony Cuccia, whose power turned out Friday.
For now, the responsibility is on Entergy as the state pushes for more oversight.
City Council President Helena Moreno tells us that City Council is awaiting an independent review of Entergy’s damage from Hurricane Ida and will be discussing this most recent Entergy issue at an upcoming meeting.