Repairs to power grid after Hurricane Ida could approach $3B

The cost of power restorations and repairs in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida could approach $3 billion, with many customers asked to cover bills without federal aid. 

As The Daily Advertiser reports, the state’s rural utility co-ops can likely recoup repair costs from the federal government, but Entergy Louisiana and Cleco, which serve a majority of residents, won’t qualify for aid unless Congress approves exceptions. 

Executives from electric companies testified during a Louisiana Public Service Commission meeting Wednesday, saying the damage inflicted by the storm could cost Entergy alone $2.4 billion. 

Though the meeting was hacked, the commission managed to approve a resolution urging the state’s congressional delegation to aggressively seek federal disaster relief to lessen ratepayer responsibility. The commissioners generally praised the electricity providers for their rapid response and for mobilizing 30,000 linemen from across the country to restore power, but questions remain about what can be done to prevent such catastrophic damage with future storms. 

Also Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edward met with Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, to discuss federal disaster aid for Louisiana in order to help the state recover. 

Edwards is requesting both funding and legislative actions including: 

  • Expansion of direct repair authority under FEMA’s individual assistance program.
  • Resetting FEMA authority to grant funding to states to implement housing programs.
  • Extension of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act Duplication of Benefit Flexibility legislation. 

Read more about what is happening in Congress from The Hill and about the Public Service Commission meeting here

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