September 26, 2005

Some 1.3 million still without power in US after Rita

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 1.3 million customers remain
without power in Texas and Louisiana including new outages due
to Hurricane Rita and remaining outages from Hurricane Katrina,
according to utilities in the area and the U.S. Energy
Information Administration.

Before Rita hit the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 storm on
Spt. 24, about 250,000 customers remained without service in
Louisiana almost four weeks after Katrina ravaged the southeast
corner of the state.

Entergy Corp., the biggest power company in Louisiana, said
more than 485,000 customers in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and
Mississippi were without power due to Hurricane Rita, down from
a peak of more than 766,000.

Entergy noted however, it was not counting more than
156,000 customers still without service in the New Orleans area
since those customers' homes and businesses were unable to
accept service due to significant repair or reconstruction
requirements following Katrina.

A spokesman at Entergy said the company was still assessing
the damage to its system by Rita and it was too soon to say how
long it would take to restore service, noting it would likely
be measured in weeks.

In Texas, Entergy asked customers north of Houston to
reduce their usage of electricity voluntarily due to the
extensive damage to the transmission system and the expected
high demand for power due to high temperatures. Key
transmission lines that could bring power from the East were
out of service.

If the utility determines demand will exceeds the power
supply, Entergy said it might impose rolling blackouts in the
Houston suburbs. Customers would have their service interrupted
for 60 minutes at a time with some customers possibly
experiencing multiple outages.

Elsewhere in Texas, CenterPoint Energy Inc. reported a peak
of 715,000 customer outages over the weekend with less than
300,000 still out this morning. The company expects to restore
service to all customers within about a week.

Entergy's subsidiaries own and operate about 30,000 MW of
generating capacity, market energy commodities, and transmit
and distribute power to 2.6 million customers in Arkansas,
Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

CenterPoint transmits and distributes electricity to about
1.9 million customers in Texas and natural gas to nearly 3
million customers in six states.