The majority of Entergy Louisiana customers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes should have power restored by Sept. 23, with restorations by Sept. 30 for the remaining customers who can safely receive power, officials said at a briefing Monday.
Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam read a statement from Margaret Harris, customer service representative with Entergy Louisiana, stating that power has been made available to roughly 45 percent of customers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes so far. That number was closer to 25-30 percent of customers as of Sept. 11, Beam said.
An Entergy customer information center, at 2150 Opelousas St., is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter dispelled the notion that he and Entergy officials are choosing which portions of the city get power restored before others.
“Our message with Entergy has been very clear: get (customers) turned on as quickly as humanly possible,” he said. “I still do believe that Entergy has done some amazing work. This was almost rebuilding an electrical grid from scratch.”
Beam said 17 percent of customers with Beauregard Electric Cooperative have had power restored.
Beam also read a report from Johnny Moyer, government affairs director for the cable and internet provider Suddenlink. He said the company has completed assessments in more than 90 percent of the market in Calcasieu Parish. Much of the company’s telecommunication infrastructure was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Laura and needs to be rebuilt.
Hunter said his office “has not been overly impressed with Suddenlink”even before Hurricane Laura’s landfall. He said the company needs to improve its response in the coming days.
“I don’t mind saying that,” Hunter said. “I’ve had more complaints about Suddenlink than any other utility we have in the city of Lake Charles.”
Those wanting information on their internet service can call Suddenlink at 877-794-2724.
Hunter thanked the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office for providing the city’s fire department with several hundred carbon monoxide detectors to distribute throughout area neighborhoods.
Residents staying in shelters or hotels provided by FEMA will not be asked to leave or have their benefits canceled, Hunter said.
“We don’t want to see people getting kicked out of hotels that are provided by FEMA, and FEMA has heard that message,” he said.
Hunter asked residents to conserve water.
Those needing permits from the city can visit mypermitnow.org or call 491-1294.
The Mayor’s Action Line, 491-1346, is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Gene Pittman said service calls and crime have dropped slightly in recent days. He said law enforcement from agencies in Southeast Louisiana have left Calcasieu to deal with the approaching Hurricane Sally.
Pittman said the need for static security locally is not as great, but overall numbers of manpower will remain in place.
Dick Gremillion, Calcasieu Office of Emergency Preparedness director, said operating hours at the local distribution pods have changed to 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Residents staying in New Orleans hotels will have the chance to speak with a caseworker on the condition of their homes, Gremillion said. He said residents will have the option to return to their home, as long as it is livable.
“This does not mean living in Lake Charles right now is a pleasant experience,”Gremillion said. “There are still major portions of Calcasieu Parish that do not have electrical power. Think long and hard before you make that commitment to come back.”
The deadline to sign up for the Army Corps of Engineers free Operation Blue Roof program is Sept. 21. For more, visit usace.army.mil/blueroof or call 888-766-3258.
The deadline to file for disaster unemployment assistance is Oct. 22. For more, visit laworks.net or call 866-783-5567.
The deadline to file for individual assistance through FEMA is Oct. 27. For more, visit disasterassistance.gov or call FEMA at 800-621-3362. A drive-thru disaster recovery center is open at 3310 Broad St. For more, visit fema.gov/disaster/4559.
Hot meals will be served 12-2 p.m. Tuesday at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church in Cameron. The United Way of Southwest Louisiana will also serve hot meals 12-2 p.m. Thursday at the parking lot of the old Kroger, 600 12th St.