Insights > New Orleans' Gas System Performs Better Than Before Katrina

New Orleans' Gas System Performs Better Than Before Katrina

10/08/2014

Employees in Entergy's gas business have reduced leaks in New Orleans by half since Hurricane Katrina destroyed a significant portion of the system in 2005.

"The system performs better today because of the rebuild work done by our employees," said Michelle Bourg, gas distribution business director.

Bourg said Entergy's gas employees are recognized as industry experts, as evidenced by winning the Platts Award for Infrastructure Project of the Year in 2009. Three years later, employees shared their unique experiences with New Jersey Natural Gas workers following damage to their system caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The gas rebuild map is updated regularly on entergyneworleans.com.

Katrina flooded more than half of New Orleans' 1,500-mile gas delivery system. To date, 290 miles of pipe have been rebuilt, including replacing 162 miles of cast iron pipe with higher-density plastic pipe.

"The replacement pipe is extremely robust and virtually impervious to salt water corrosion, compared to cast iron or steel," said Bourg. "It is smaller, shipped in long sections, requires less maintenance and is less susceptible to water-related outages."

Bourg added that replacement cost is less than a third of the industry average, supporting the group's mission to provide customers with safe, reliable and affordable energy. The group uses pipe data to identify and prioritize replacement through a condition-based approach, including pipe age, leak history, reliability issues and population.

Recent news articles focused on potential dangers of cast iron and bare steel pipe installed within the nation's gas-delivery infrastructure. Bourg said the company has a good story to tell.

"There is no bare steel pipe in Entergy's New Orleans gas system," she said. The Baton Rouge system has less than 1 percent, she added.
Cast iron pipe remaining in the Entergy system includes less than 7 percent in New Orleans and less than 1 percent in Baton Rouge. Since 2004, 49 percent of cast iron pipe has been removed from New Orleans.

"We are working with the Louisiana Public Service Commission to implement a program early next year to accelerate pipe replacement in Baton Rouge," Bourg said.

Entergy's Gas Distribution Business, in existence since the early 1920s, provides gas service to approximately 104,000 customers in New Orleans and 93,000 customers in Baton Rouge, with approximately 3,428 miles of main gas pipe and 2,057 miles of service gas pipe throughout both cities.

A map reviewing infrastructure replacement progress and next areas for work on the gas rebuild is updated regularly on entergyneworleans.com.