Insights > One year after Ida, Entergy remains committed to grid resilience and safe storm response (NOLA.com)
One year after Ida, Entergy remains committed to grid resilience and safe storm response (NOLA.com)
As we mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida, the historic event serves as a stark reminder that while Entergy is prepared to safely respond to whatever Mother Nature brings our way, it only takes one storm to make it a challenging season.
Hurricane Ida brought 150 mph winds onshore in southeast Louisiana, remained a Category 3 storm (which indicates up to 129 mph sustained winds) half-way through the “boot” of Louisiana, and continued upwards through the state at hurricane status just north of Hammond. That’s just north and west of the greater New Orleans area. The storm tied Hurricane Laura for the strongest storm ever to make landfall in Louisiana. The late August storm damaged more than 30,000 distribution utility poles – more than we’ve seen with any other storm. Portions of the company’s electric system, such as those in the hardest-hit bayou and river parishes, had to be rebuilt.
Entergy delivered an unprecedented response to an unprecedented event. The company gathered materials and specialized equipment and unified over 26,000 utility workers from 41 states to erect new poles, hang new wires and repair or install new equipment across southeast Louisiana.
And as part of its commitment to increasing reliability and building resilience into the electric system, Entergy has since invested millions of dollars into upgrading its transmission and distribution infrastructure that consists of equipment along city streets and throughout woods, marshes and bayous.
For example, new steel transmission structures were installed in Lafourche Parish, a new transmission river crossing from Avondale to Harahan has been completed and put back into service, overhead distribution infrastructure was hardened near the coast and around eight miles of distribution lines were undergrounded near Grand Isle.
The company has also made significant upgrades to local substations that transport power to the distribution system, including several in New Orleans, and will continue identifying additional opportunities to incorporate smart devices and automation within the electric system.
SEC crew clearning River Rd in Destrehan. Tom Beck
“Ultimately, the goal of the work that has been and will be performed is to help us, Entergy and the communities we serve, recover more quickly following major storms,” said John Hawkins, Entergy’s vice president of reliability for Entergy in Louisiana.
He added, “No two storms are alike, and Ida challenged us in many ways. Although we’ve taken steps to upgrade our infrastructure, we’re not done. We’re going to continue finding ways to build resilience into the electric system and improve upon our operations and processes so that we’re ready for the next challenge.”
Hurricanes are a reality in southeast Louisiana, and we prepare year-round to respond. We count on the experts, the engineers, the planners, and operators to help guide us through storm restoration. With the 2022 hurricane season nearing its most active point, the company is emphasizing safety and storm preparedness.
“We’re encouraging our customers and communities to join us in being storm ready,” Hawkins said. “Remember, the time to prepare is now and ahead of a weather system impacting our area. While we’re incredibly thankful this hurricane season is off to a slow start, Ida showed us once again that all it takes is one storm to make it a bad season.”
He added, “Whatever comes our way, no matter the storm, we’ll be there for our communities when they need us.”
Submitted article originally published in the Aug. 28, 2022, edition of The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com, The New Orleans Advocate.