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FERC Approves Waivers to Help Entergy Recover from Gustav

FERC last Thursday granted emergency waivers to Entergy Services to allow Entergy operating companies to manage their resources in the wake of the extensive damage to its transmission system caused by Hurricane Gustav.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said it intends to assist the Gulf Coast in recovering from the hurricane-related damage, and granting the Entergy waivers is consistent with that goal. Any regulated company that believes it has been adversely affected should promptly notify FERC so it may address their concerns, the agency said.

Entergy operating companies lost load and generation as a result of the hurricane, which battered the Gulf region as a Category 2 storm Monday. "The damage to the Entergy system is extensive and it is the largest damage to have ever occurred in the Baton Rouge (LA) area," the Department of Energy reported last Thursday. "The transmission damage across the Entergy system includes 122 transmission lines and 118 substations. Entergy added two more lines on Sept. 4th [Thursday], bringing to four the number of transmission lines servicing the area south of Lake Pontchartrain which had been isolated to due hurricane damage," the department said in an update Friday.

To assist the company, FERC granted Entergy's request for a waiver of the one-month minimum term for unit power sales between Entergy operating companies and resales of power purchases by one from the other to permit the affected Entergy companies to enter into transactions for periods of shorter than one month. Entergy 's operating companies serve power customers in Texas, Louisiana, New Orleans, Arkansas and Mississippi.

FERC also said it is allowing Entergy's operating companies to enter into transactions that include capacity from the Grand Gulf nuclear power plant in Port Gibson, MS, without advance agency approval.

The waivers would be in effect only where an Entergy operating company has experienced a significant loss of load as a result of the hurricane, and only until the emergency conditions from the hurricane have subsided, FERC said. The waivers became effective last Wednesday (Sept. 3).

Entergy has committed to notifying the Commission when the waivers are no longer necessary. If that notification is not made within 120 days, FERC said the company must file a report of the status of the waivers.

In a Friday afternoon update, Entergy said it had restored service to 453,856 customers and had 510,082 outages remaining. Of those remaining outages, 481,539 were in Louisiana. At their peak following Gustav outages on the Entergy system stood at 850,000, the company said.

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