Utility companies still working to restore power, water to Miss-Lou residents

Published 1:36 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2021

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One week after a severe winter storm system moved through the Miss-Lou, there is still a little way to go before things seem back to normal, especially where utilities such as water and electricity are concerned.

Adams County and Concordia Parish’s water lines were drained by leaks when several pipes burst during the freezing weather. This caused water lines to lose pressure and consequentially boil advisories were issued for all area residents in accordance with state laws.

Adams County and Concordia Parish both expect to have an update regarding boil water advisories on Wednesday, Feb. 24, when results are returned from samples that were sent to the Louisiana Health Department for Concordia Parish and a Hattiesburg lab for Adams County water systems.

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Tony Moon, Natchez Water Works Superintendent, said he should have results from the test samples by midday on Wednesday.

“The system continues to improve,” Moon said Tuesday, adding the water pressure should be back to normal for most residents.

“People can go back to somewhat normal water use, just don’t do anything excessive,” he said.

Natchez Water Works is still finding water leaks caused by last week’s freezing weather. Moon said 90 percent of the leaks were found on private properties.

When a leak is found on private property, Natchez Water Works will shut off the meter until the leak is repaired by the owner, Moon said.

Property owners should continue to report leaks by calling Natchez Water Works at 601-445-5521. Press extension 2 during normal operating hours or press extension 8 for after-hour emergencies, Moon said.

Concordia Parish OEP Director Tim Vanier said he also expects results from Concordia Parish water samples to be available by Wednesday evening.

Alderman Robert Gardner, mayor pro tempore, said the Town of Vidalia began distributing cases of water to residents in need last week with the help of District 34 Sen. Katrina Jackson and Louisiana District 21 House Rep. Travis Johnson.

Mayor Buz Craft, Vidalia Police Chief Joey Merrill and Vanier continue to pass out water to area residents at the Vidalia Town Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday until normal water use can resume, Gardner said.

Power loss

Thousands in Concordia Parish and Adams County also experienced power loss during the storm.

Vainer said 100 percent of Vidalia’s 4,300 residents lost water for two to three days and approximately 85 percent lost power for two to three days.

Close to 7,000 Entergy customers in Natchez and an additional 6,000 Southwest Cooperative members in Adams County lost power starting Wednesday last week when freezing rain took down trees and power lines.

Deb McGee, who is the public relations coordinator for Southwest, said close to 90 percent of the meters in Southwest’s nine-county service-area went down within just a few hours on Wednesday night.

On the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 23, over 1,200 Southwest meters in Adams County were still offline and approximately 6,000 within the service area, McGee said.

Southwest is receiving assistance from several other electric cooperatives and tree services from across the region, including Cooperative Energy, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Magnolia Electric Power, Singing River Electric, Tallahatchie Valley Electric Power Association, Yazoo Valley Electric Power Association, Delta Tree Services Inc., Killen Contractors, Kinco, LLC, MDR Powerline Construction and Southern Tree Service.

“Our goal is to have every meter in Adams County back on by Saturday,” McGee said. “Some people will get power back before then. We won’t stop until every meter is back on.”

Those on the Town of Vidalia’s electrical service were mostly restored by Tuesday morning, officials said.

Just over 200 Entergy customers in Concordia Parish and approximately 15 Entergy customers in Adams County were still without power on Tuesday morning according to Entergy’s website.

Most of the remaining outages in Concordia Parish are around the Town of Ferriday and Ridgecrest.