- Power companies are monitoring the progression of Ida, which is forecasted to bring severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and wind, high tides, and flooding.
- Preparation for Hurricane Ida has already knocked out more oil production than Hurricane Katrina 16 years ago.
- Energy crews and contractors will be responding to sweeping power outages throughout the storm.
Hurricane Ida could leave a wide swath of southern Louisiana and Alabama without power, and the powerful storm and has already slashed oil production in the region.
Energy companies are bracing for widespread power outages in Louisiana and surrounding states as the possible Category 4 hurricane — the second strongest level of storm — touches down in the Gulf Coast region on Sunday.
In New Orleans, a city of about 400,000 people, local officials said residents should be prepared for prolonged power outages. Entergy Louisiana, which provides gas and power to over 1.1 million customers, including 94,000 in the Baton Rouge also warned of outages and possible extended periods before restoration.
“Crews are preparing to respond quickly and safely, however restoration times may be extended if outages are widespread,” Entergy Texas said in a storm update on Friday. Employees are also expected to maintain COVID-19 practices, which may prolong response times.
Alabama Power, which services more than 1 million people, also said it was preparing for the storm and urged customers to keep small devices charged in the event of power loss. Mississippi authorities have also told residents to brace for scattered outages.
US oil and gas companies cut more than 1.6 million barrels of oil production, which exceeded oil cutbacks during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Reuters reported on Friday. Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron have also said they have been evacuating oil crews from offshore drilling platforms.
Ida is expected to pass through oil fields that contribute 17% of the nation’s total oil production, which may drastically impact national oil prices in the following week. The US Coast Guard has also begun installing port restrictions from Alabama to Texas, according to S&P Global, which can effect import and export efforts and supply chains in the region.
The White House approved emergency declaration for Louisiana, allowing 2,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) employees to be deployed to Louisiana. President Joe Biden has also met with the governors of Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi to discuss disaster relief efforts.