Insights > Power Grid Upkeep Vital to Communities

Power Grid Upkeep Vital to Communities

05/17/2016

Infrastructure can be a scary word.

We experience first-hand the challenges of maintaining and improving the systems and facilities we all use. The Mississippi Department of Transportation estimates it will take an additional $526 million per year to repair highways and bridges. The City of Jackson is diligently working to find revenues to make an estimated $1 billion in needed street and water system repairs.


The electrical infrastructure we all use is just as vital as our water/sewer and road infrastructure. Our transmission and distribution lines are the “roads” that take electricity from the generating plants to homes and businesses. Entergy Mississippi’s network of substations is like electrical “plumbing” that ties the transmission and distribution systems together.


For more than 90 years, our electrical assets have grown as Mississippi has grown. To serve more than a million people, we manage more than 20,000 miles of electrical lines -- roughly the distance from Mississippi to Australia and back. Additionally, we have 291 substations, four natural gas-powered generating plants and one nuclear plant.


Many parts of this infrastructure have been in place for more than 60 years, and while we have maintained and expanded that infrastructure to meet customers’ needs, eventually, it makes sense to replace aging equipment with new and improved technology.


Improvements could involve replacing a wooden pole with a stronger composite material, changing to aluminum conductors, or replacing old “rotary” meters with more advanced digital meters. It could also be expanding our infrastructure – building new “roads” to deliver electricity to growing industries and population areas.


Through wise investments in nuclear and natural gas power generation, and with our recent entry into the MISO market, we have achieved residential rates that are some of the lowest in the country--more than 20 percent below the national average…and dropping.


Entergy Mississippi’s power grid is not at risk now. However, we know that as with any infrastructure, it is critical to plan ahead. Every pothole and every boil water notice reminds us that we need to be diligent about our electrical infrastructure, too. When it comes to infrastructure, it’s always better to invest early than to ignore. With historically low rates, now is a good time to begin these necessary infrastructure investments while minimizing the rate impact on customers.


Haley Fisackerly
PRESIDENT & CEO, ENTERGY MISSISSIPPI