Louisiana residents are rushing to find fuel for generators after Edda

Louisiana residents are rushing to find fuel for generators after Edda

People who say they have been waiting for hours for a gas truck to appear are seen at a gas station in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Lea Millis

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NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Storm-hit Louisiana residents and area businesses who struggled for nearly a week without power are struggling to find generators or fuel to power them, making it difficult for residents to cool their homes after Hurricane Ida. .

Ida’s strong winds have caused power outages to more than a million homes and businesses. Unlike recent fuel crises, such as the ransomware attack that forced the Colonial pipeline to shut down in May, supply isn’t the only problem. Many gas stations have cut off electricity, which prevents them from working, and it is difficult for residents to fill generators.

Residents aren’t the only ones scrambling.

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Nearly a dozen grain export terminals scattered along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to the Gulf of Mexico were without power for the week, disrupting export shipments from the country’s largest grain export port.

More than two-thirds of stations were without fuel in Baton Rouge and New Orleans as of Friday, the two most populous cities in the state, according to GasBuddy.com.

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, some Louisiana residents invested in natural gas generators, and were able to keep the lights on. Others weren’t so lucky.

In New Orleans, Aaron Lowe, 49, queued Thursday at a gas station to wait for gasoline for the third day in a row. He said that he and many others prepared for the storm by obtaining an electric generator, but that finding gasoline was difficult.

“I had to wait about 40 minutes (today),” said Lowe, a construction worker. “I’ve been waiting between two and four hours for the past two days.”

Abdul Saleh, the station manager, said Lowe was at a Shell station on S. Claiborne Street in New Orleans, which was powered by generators.

Patrick de Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, said the plant outage was not a supply problem, even as some oil producers and refineries in the region struggle to operate. Read more

“There are many stations that have a lot of gasoline, but they cannot transport it because they do not have electricity,” he said.

GasBuddy data in Baton Rouge showed that 71.6% of gas stations were without fuel on Friday, while 66.2% in New Orleans were without fuel. This could mean either they are without fuel or without electricity, de Haan said.

Some 860,000 homes and businesses in the state still lacked electricity as of Friday.

American Automobile Association data showed that retail gasoline prices in New Orleans rose 6 cents last week, to $2.868 a gallon of regular gasoline.

Find generators

Some find it difficult even to get their hands on a generator.

In Baton Rouge, Austin Corona Tuesday through Thursday tried to find a generator before giving up. The heat was so unbearable that Corona, 55, slept in his car in the driveway this week. He said generators were buzzing all over his neighborhood.

On Friday, he said some hardware stores are beginning to regain strength in the area. After a store reopened earlier this week, Corona bumped into a generator but they sold out in less than an hour.

Corona, the retail manager, said his strength was finally back online on Friday noon.

Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain told Reuters that multinational grain trader Cargill is looking for large generators to power the crop export terminal in Westoego.

Strain said the company may have been asked to prepare for extended blackouts. “They’re going to have to buy it from any company that has those big enough companies and then get it here,” he said. “Then they’re going to be fueled by the big problem.”

Strain helps businesses and government agencies save fuel to keep generators running, and has targeted “red-dyed diesel,” typically used to power farm machinery and off-road vehicles, after the Environmental Protection Agency issued emergency fuel waivers.

Cargill declined to comment.

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Additional reporting by Stephanie Kelly in New York, Devika Krishna Kumar in New Orleans and Karl Bloom in Chicago.

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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