Two winter storms hammered Concordia Parish last week, while the second, which hit Feb. 17, caused widespread power outages as temperatures plummeted and roads iced over.
While many had their electricity restored, some have not had lights for seven days.
Concordia Electric reported Tuesday that it has restored power to 75 percent of its customers after 80 percent of the customer base was reported out of power Saturday. Some customers of the utility have reported extreme distress as a result of the outages, many pleading on Concordia Electric’s Facebook for specific information as to when their power will be restored and others lamenting the loss of food as well as financial hardships.
In a press release, Entergy reported: “While south Louisiana bore the brunt of the first winter storm, central and north Louisiana were harder hit by the second. Ice accumulation sagged on downed trees, limbs and power lines, causing damage to the company’s electric system. The additional weight of ice caused trees and limbs to fall into power lines and other electric equipment.
“A storm team of more than 4,000 worked quickly and, above all, safely to restore power throughout a week that saw recurring outages due to limbs falling after severe weather passed and issues with cold load pickup. Crews oftentimes had to energize a power line in sections rather than all at once to avoid damaging the electric system through instantaneous demand.”
“At the peak, the winter storms knocked out power to approximately 131,000 Entergy Louisiana customers. The first storm heavily impacted the Livingston Parish, Tangipahoa Parish and Greater Baton Rouge areas. Customers who were affected by the first storm, including those that lost power days after the storm had passed due to limbs falling after the fact and other scenarios, were restored by Saturday. The second storm heavily impacted central and north Louisiana. Most customers affected by the second storm were restored by Monday.”
The towns of Ferriday, Clayton and Ridgecrest are under a boil advisory due to the recent power outages, according to Matthew Parker of JCP Management, the firm that manages the water systems for local municipalities.
The Town of Ferriday passed a resolution declaring Ferriday a disaster area during a special meeting Tuesday.
“The town is in bad shape and it just breaks my heart,” said Ferriday Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd.
The board also agreed to send a letter to the Concordia Parish Police Jury asking for assistance in cleaning up the town.
In Vidalia, Mayor Buz Craft updated recovery efforts on Monday via Facebook, noting this winter storm was “unprecedented in my lifetime in Vidalia.” He said that after the storm passed through the town looked as if “a major hurricane went through town.”
He said the preparation and recovery efforts occurred as he buried his father over the weekend. But he said he was uplifted when multiple volunteers called to provide their assistance in the recovery efforts.
Craft also praised town employees and thanked the Louisiana Power & Energy Authority for its help in preparing for the storm.
The mayor also reported:
-- Normal household garbage pickup began Monday.
-- Trash, including limbs and other debris, will be removed from the roads by licensed contractors hired by the town. Debris will be dumped in the chip yard near the sewer ponds rather than at the landfill in Fayette, Miss. This is being done to speed up the cleanup.
-- Any yards that were rutted as a result of utility trucks and equipment will be upgraded by the town.
-- Private contractors hired by residents for yard cleanup will be responsible for hauling off that debris.
-- Street lights that are out will be restored.
-- One of the major reasons for the water shortage was due to some business and residential customers opening their faucets all the way rather than setting a drip. “This drained our water tanks,” Craft said. He said water tanks are now full and that electricity has been restored to all but five customers.
-- Utility bills due on the 18th are now due on the 23rd. Late fees will be credited.
-- Many residents attempted to call town hall but could not cut through. Craft said this is due to a “horrible phone system” that will be replaced.
He also expressed his appreciation to the Louisiana Energy & Power Authority as well as the Police Jury for assistance throughout last week.
On Monday and Tuesday, the town distributed water to Vidalia residents at town hall.