Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay

These may be old generators but I bet the turbines at the Carrolliton Water and Power Plant are the same age or older. The S&WB will now use power from New Orleans Entergy.

The Sewerage & Water Board plans to switch to Entergy New Orleans as its main power source under a deal announced Wednesday aimed at replacing the aging and ailing turbines that power the city’s drainage system, city and utility officials announced Wednesday. The S&WB has had constant problems with its century-old, in-house turbines in recent years, leaving the city vulnerable to flooding during major storms. Under the deal announced by Mayor LaToya Cantrell, those power supplies would be relegated to backup status, with the main source of electricity for the pumping stations that dot the city switching to power purchased from Entergy. Currently, about half of the S&WB’s pumps already are powered by Entergy. This plan would switch over the rest by building a new substation at the Carrollton Plant and installing frequency changers that would convert Entergy’s power to the archaic standard used by about half of the S&WB’s equipment.

The cost will be $75 million paid by State funds, city bonds and from Entergy itself. the S&WB expects to save $5 million a year and pay less for the power. Hopefully it will be in effect for the 2023 hurricane season.

Cantrell said the agreement “fulfills a critical promise” she made when taking office and will “bring reliable power to the Sewerage & Water Board without raising rates for Sewerage & Water Board customers.” Officials have talked about making such a switch for more than a decade, noting the many problems with the breakdown-prone equipment used by the S&WB. Reports on the idea have said that Entergy power would be cheaper and more reliable than the S&WB’s in-house systems. The precarious state of the S&WB’s system has been brought into sharp relief over the past year, as the utility’s two workhorse turbines have been down for repairs.

The drainage system is unreliable suffering down times often at the worst times. Currently capacity is only about half we are due for heavy rains this weekend where all of the pumps may be needed. Any drop in power will mean pumps go offline.

The calls to make the switch to Entergy became more urgent after the flooding in the summer of 2017, which was blamed in part on a lack of power. Former Mayor Mitch Landrieu specifically called for making the change as he prepared to leave office. Despite those discussions, however, the process has moved slowly, beset by issues over funding the equipment needed to make the change. Entergy had originally sought to strike a deal where it would fund the entire project in exchange for permission to make a higher profit, a plan rejected by the City Council. Councilmembers joined Cantrell and Entergy officials in making the announcement on Wednesday. “This power issue is a really serious issue, I would say it’s a dangerous issue and its one that’s very costly and its persisted much too long for the people of this city,” said Councilmember Helena Moreno.

Obviously the proof will be in the service rendered and the turbines that need specially constructed parts are not to be trusted. We have been here since 2015 and our street has flooded once. We lost a car and became very interested in the pumping situation. I still don’t understand why we use the archaic power system though. Why not either 110 or 220 as consumers use.

SEwerage and Water Board to use New Orleans Entergy
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