Mayor Hall gives recap of hurricane recovery efforts

Alexandria, La. (August 30, 2020) — Sunday marked the fourth day of recovery efforts as City of Alexandria crews, aided by crews from Florida, Missouri and other locations, continued working to restore utility services and clean up damage caused by Hurricane Laura Thursday morning.

“It’s been a grueling four days,” said Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall. “I think we’re finally starting to turn the corner. We have all of the main utility circuits back online, roughly 82 percent of our electric customers have service and our water system is nearing a full recovery. My heart goes out to those residents who are still without power, and I want you to know we are working as quickly as we can to get your service restored. Laura dealt a devastating blow to our distribution system, but I assure you we won’t stop working until every line is repaired and services are fully restored to everyone who can take power.”

Utility Director Michael Marcotte confirmed that all 57 of the city’s main electrical circuits are restored, restoring service to more than 20,000 customers and leaving roughly 4,600 still waiting for restoration. “We have the main corridors restored and now we are working to address issues with smaller circuits and lines that serve parts of streets and individual homes,” he said. “Residents who are still without power should report the issue to our call center at 318-473-1301 or in the AlexConnects App and we will continue to work each incident on a case-by-case basis.”

Marcotte added that a citywide boil advisory remains in effect. “Water pressure has improved and the system has stabilized, but for now residents need to continue to boil water before drinking,” Marcotte said.

Recapping recovery efforts to date, crews began work as soon as Hurricane Laura passed through the city Thursday morning. By the end of day one the city had restored the main transmission lines coming into the city and restored power to 6,600 customers, about 25 percent of the roughly 25,000 total. The city also worked to restore power to the city’s 16 water distribution pumps.

On Friday, issues developed with the city water supply as water pressure dropped and a citywide boil advisory was issued. Power was restored to 9 of the 16 pumps by 5 p.m. and the remaining pumps were brought back online overnight. Crews made significant progress removing downed trees and restoring service to critical facilities including hospitals and nursing homes. By the end of the day power was restored to 50 percent of electric consumers, or roughly 12,700 customers,

Restoration work continued Saturday with a focus on stabilizing the water supply system and restoring power to the main electric circuits serving the city. By the end of the day Saturday the water pressure improved and the water system stabilized. A total of 53 of the city’s 57 main electrical circuits were restored and 69 percent of electric consumers, or 17,200 customers had their electric service restored. The city also provided free packages of bottled water to residents as well as setting up two charging stations for those without power to charge cell phones and electronic equipment.

Work continued Sunday to restore electrical service, maintain the stability of the water system and continue the cleanup and removal of tree debris. Free water distribution continued at the Alexander Fulton Mini Park and at the former Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) campus on South MacArthur Drive.

Looking ahead, regular trash collection will resume Monday. Collection of residential tree waste will also begin next week. Residents are reminded to separate tree waste from other trash, including construction debris, and place the tree waste at the curb or in a common public area for collection.

All city offices will be open as usual and the ATRANS bus service will run as scheduled. The Alexandria Zoo, which was heavily damaged by the storm, will remain closed until further notice.

Residents should continue to report power outages and other service requests in the AlexConnects App or by calling the city call center at 318-473-1301. Also continue to watch the city’s Facebook page at City of Alexandria – Government for the latest updates and advisories.