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|Entergy still battling Gustav|
Some northeast Louisiana residents could be without electricity until Friday, or later, as Entergy crews work to restore power following an onslaught of heavy rain and high winds over the past three days.
Kenny Solley, Entergy's spokesman for northeast Louisiana, asks that residents remain patient as crews try to restore power following Hurricane Gustav's trek through the state.
"We're fixing lines in areas with the most customers first," Solley said. "We're trying to get power to as many people as quickly as possible. We're out trying to get 50 or 200 customers on as opposed to going out to restore power for one person.
"We're asking people to be patient. This has been a significant storm and its impact is second only to Katrina.
"It's been very difficult, even in outlying areas. We have no estimates when we will be finished. It could be as late as Friday in some places. In isolated areas, it could be later in the week."
As many as 70,000 residents were without power in northeast Louisiana beginning Monday when Gustav hit the region.
On Tuesday, there were 53,000 residents without power when Entergy crews began restoration efforts. Around 8 p.m. Tuesday night, power had been restored to all customers but about 12,000.
"This morning (Wednesday) we woke up to find we had another 5,000 without power," Solley said. "We lost additional customers during the night with trees falling on the lines."
By late Wednesday morning, Solley estimated about 16,000 residents in Ouachita Parish were without electricity.
"In our eyes, this has been much more significant than Katrina and Rita," Solley explained. "We've had such high winds and extensive damage in the northern half of the state. With such extensive damage, even with additional resources, we're thinly spread."
"But we've got everyone out today, and now that it's not raining we hope we can make some real progress," he added.
Some Entergy employees from Arkansas remain in north Louisiana helping with restoration efforts.
Initially, Entergy was told that 600 linemen from Arkansas would work in north Louisiana to assist. However, only 250 additional linemen arrived in the region. Most of them have moved on to south Louisiana to work. About 100 of them are still in northeast Louisiana working to restore power here.
Many of the linemen who traveled to south Louisiana are being asked to return to Arkansas since Gustav has knocked out power to more than 100,000 residents there, Solley said.
Entergy has scouts riding around northeast Louisiana surveying the area for downed power lines and assessing damage.
Over the next several days, Entergy plans to recruit additional workers to assist in the restoration efforts in north Louisiana.
Entergy asks people to call 1-800-Entergy when they encounter or see downed power lines.