Insights > Entergy Mississippi to replace wooden transmission poles across service territory

Entergy Mississippi to replace wooden transmission poles across service territory


Crews work on a pole replacement project near Hollandale, Mississippi.
Crews work on a pole replacement project near Hollandale, Mississippi.

When you flip a lightswitch to “on,” you expect the light to come on. You probably don’t consider how the power got to your house or how far it had to travel to reach you. At Entergy Mississippi, we think about it all day, every day so that it will be there when you flip that switch.

And we don’t just think about it. We study it and keep up with the latest advancements in technology, materials and installation. We learn from experts and our own experiences in the field and then use that data to improve our performance.

“Our customers and communities depend on us to deliver reliable service,” said Shawn Corkran, vice president of reliability, Entergy Mississippi. “We study and invest in modernizing and strengthening our grid to ensure our customers have the power they need when they need it. This involves not just replacing aging infrastructure, but also updating our equipment with materials that improve our resiliency.”

The company produces power in the most efficient and reliable manner possible, then sends the electricity that has been generated across transmission lines to reach the distribution lines that bring power to your home. The transmission system is the backbone of the electric grid and the lines and poles that comprise it are unmistakable when you see them. An average 500kV transmission structure stands as tall as a 10-story building at about 150 feet in height. The structures carry high-voltage electricity quickly and efficiently over long distances to reach the distribution lines that, in turn, serve thousands of customers.

These high-voltage lines and the structures holding them are a crucial part of the grid, so maintaining them is an essential part of Entergy Mississippi’s work. Wooden poles were once the standard material for transmission structures. However, today steel and concrete poles are preferred for reliability.

Last year, Entergy Mississippi launched a project to accelerate the replacement of existing wooden transmission structures with steel or concrete poles, with the goal of replacing all wooden poles in 12-15 years. So far, more than 1,000 aged wood structures have been replaced.

“We identified wooden transmission structures in need of replacement across the state,” said Corkran. “With these upgraded structures, we can provide a more hardened, reliable system for our customers and reduce the length of outages caused by transmission wood pole failures.”

The replacement of the wood structures represents the majority of a $28 million annual investment Entergy Mississippi is making to harden the grid. Additional crews were brought on the system for the execution of the incremental work to replace the structures holding the lines, which will fortify the grid; these additional crews will be available to help restore damaged transmission lines, improving the restoration times during unplanned outages or outages that may occur during storms. An investment in infrastructure now pays dividends in fewer outages and lower bills for customers today and in the decades to come.