September 26, 2005

Over 1.2 mln without power after Rita

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Over 1.2 million customers were
without power Monday in Texas and Louisiana, including outages
from this weekend's 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
September 24, about 250,000 customers were still without
service in Louisiana almost four weeks after Katrina ravaged
the southeastern corner of the state and flooded New Orleans.

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 during the storm.

Entergy pointed out, however, it was not counting more than
156,000 customers still without service in the New Orleans area
because 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. It would likely be
measured in weeks, he said.

In Texas, Entergy asked customers north of Houston to
voluntarily reduce their usage of electricity due to 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 exceed 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 it had
restored power to 520,000 customers Monday morning, leaving
180,000 or 9 percent of its 1.9 million customers without

CenterPoint had 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.

One MW powers 800 homes, according to North American

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