City council demands plan from Entergy for energy reliability

City council demands plan from Entergy for energy reliability

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There was tough questioning for Entergy New Orleans on Thursday as City Council members demanded answers about power outages on clear sunny days.

"This is an ongoing issue with little action and very inadequate responses by Entergy New Orleans, and this is actually a very serious issue," Councilmember-at-Large Helena Moreno said.

City Council detailed Entergy's unreliability issues, a topic they first addressed last July. Moreno listed a number of times they asked for a reliability plan from the company.

"We hope to be assured today that the plan that will be submitted to us then will have detailed and useful information, unlike the other reports that have been submitted to the council," Moreno said.

Members said in the past two months, 86 percent of outages were during fair weather.

"We have animals like squirrels on the lines, we have a tree branch that may fall due to either deterioration on the tree or a previous storm. There's wind, there's a lot of connections on the pole that due to vibration can fail," Entergy Customer Service Vice President Melonie Stewart said.

"Every city has squirrels, chipmunks, mylar balloons, and they don't have power failures because of it," Councilmember-at-Large Jason Williams said.

Moreno pointed out that most of the outages, 52 percent, were from equipment failure.

"Both the frequency of equipment failures is increasing. Both the duration, and the duration of equipment failure caused outages is increasing. The trends are going in the wrong direction. What it indicates to us is that the system still needs a lot of work," a council advisor said.

Entergy representatives say the reason for the outages is because they reduced investment in the distribution system by $1 million in 2014.

"But the company feels comfortable in spending at least $2 million on paid actors," said Happy Johnson. "It seems to me that it's very clear what the company's priorities are, and that is not the ratepayer."

The next set day for Entergy to present a detailed reliability plan is July 5.

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