Entergy announces system updates, improvements through 2020 following widespread power outages

Entergy Texas is continuing work to update its overall infrastructure across The Woodlands, Shenandoah and Oak Ridge North following a series of power outages throughout 2019 and 2020.

A total of 136,552 outages were reported in Montgomery County in late August after Hurricane Laura affected the overall grid. Entergy Senior Communications Specialist Allison Payne said the transmission system suffered significant damage due to Laura, but rotating outages did not extend past Aug. 28.

She said additional steps were taken to improve the integrity of the grid in southeast Texas, such as replacing a high-voltage power line and using units at a station at the Louisiana border.

The power company also provided a brief update to The Woodlands Township board of directors during a July 22 meeting following outages the previous week. Entergy Vice President of Distribution Allen East said technical issues caused the outages that residents experienced, including a “critical element” at the Gosling Road substation that needed to be fixed as well as issues with a switching cabinet not matching the company’s systems.

“In the meantime, unknown to us, there was a cable that failed,” East said. “It happened to fail at absolutely the wrong time.”

East spoke to the board about recabling efforts to minimize the number and severity of power outages across the area.

The company’s projects include the installation of smart meters for customers. Other efforts, East said, include stepping up communication with customers and establishing a network in mid-August to let customers know when the new meters will be installed.

“We should complete that by the end of the year,” East said.

Following a series of power outages in 2019, Entergy began re-examining poles and utility lines, installing wires and modernizing switch cabinets.As of the July 22 meeting, East said it had replaced 35,400 feet of cables in the area. An estimated 25,000 feet of cables were in the Panther Creek area, with the remaining work along Wavy Oak Circle, Lake Woodlands Drive and Maple Branch.

“We are moving forward with what we told you we were going to do when we last talked [to the board of directors],” East said.

According to Payne, the frequency and duration of power outages has been decreasing compared to the same time last year.

“We have reduced customer interruptions by 45% and the duration of outages by 59% in The Woodlands, Shenandoah and Oak Ridge,” Payne said. Payne added along with working in The Woodlands, work is being done in Shenandoah to convert utility lines along Wellman Road to underground sources, which will reportedly offer a redundant source of power in the case of an outage.

Progress is also being made on the $937 million Montgomery County Power Station coming to Willis, which broke ground in February 2019. Payne said the power station will service most of the southeast Texas region when it is completed in 2021 and will provide 993 megawatts hourly.
By Andrew Christman
Andrew joined Community Impact Newspaper in early 2019 after moving from Indiana. He is a 2015 graduate from Indiana State University, where he received degrees in English and journalism. He has written for a number of small town publications throughout his career as a reporter.


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