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The Team Who Powered Solutions for Customers Served by Substations Damaged in Harvey

Published: 09/08/2017

Entergy transmission engineers devised a plan that reduced potential customer outages in some areas of Texas from weeks to days.

Of 17 Entergy Texas substations impacted by Hurricane Harvey, several were severely damaged. One could be bypassed to restore customers, but what did this mean for customers served from the other five facilities? Potentially, approximately 15,000 customers could have experienced weeks without power.

Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative employees, pictured here with Entergy supervisor John Carriere (in white Entergy hard hat) and Entergy senior safety specialist James Keys (far left), helped install a mobile substation at Vidor.

But a crackerjack team of Entergy transmission engineers working from the company’s incident command center in Jackson, Mississippi, immediately began devising a plan. Within five days of damage assessment, Ricky Leblanc, Charles Long, John Scott, Jerry Tanner, Chris Cooper and David Chemin started implementing a multi-dimensional strategy by surveying other utilities for available auxiliary equipment; procuring, engineering, delivering and troubleshooting the installation of four mobile substations; and facilitating the installation of a new power transformer to serve customers.

Working with Entergy Texas transmission and distribution teams in the field, the team energized four mobile substation sites to provide power in the Amelia, McDonald (Silsbee), Bevil and Vidor areas. A new, additional power transformer was put in place at the Mayhaw substation to support more load. Crews were able to bypass Kountze Bulk station and provide customers power from other sources, Helicopters, airboats and high-water vehicles were used to navigate to the stations and help accomplish the installations.

Transmission engineers (from left) Ricky Leblanc, Charles Long and John Scott, along with (not pictured) Jerry Tanner, Chris Cooper and David Chemin, devised a multidimensional plan including mobile substations to help get customers served by severely damaged substations restored.

The collaborative effort resulted in meeting or beating every power restoration timeline commitment Entergy had made to affected customers. Those who may have been without service for two to three weeks were restored within five days once the full extent of the flood damage was determined.

“I’m so proud of the Entergy team who planned and safely accomplished an enormous amount of work in such a short amount of time,” said Dean Adams, senior grid manager for Entergy Texas. “Safety leadership was exemplified daily. Individuals demonstrated courage by standing up and sharing their safety concerns, and work plans were adjusted accordingly. Because of this, our work to re-energize these substations has been accomplished efficiently, effectively and without injury or incident. And customers’ lives have been restored.”

Jim Schott

Entergy Vice President, Transmission