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New Orleans council passes Entergy reliability resolution

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Essential Energy Insights - January 2021


New Orleans council passes Entergy reliability resolution

The New Orleans City Council passed a resolution directing Entergy New Orleans Inc., or ENO, to investigate and remediate its power outages and to establish minimum reliability performance standards.

If the Entergy Corp. subsidiary does not meet those standards, the resolution stipulates that unspecified financial penalty mechanisms will be imposed.

According to the Aug. 10 resolution, Entergy New Orleans experienced 2,599 outages from all causes from June 1, 2016, to May 31, 2017, with 56% of them occurring during fair weather conditions and normal business hours. Of the outages between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the resolution said, 48% were longer than two hours and 31% were more than three hours. The utility serves 198,000 electric customers in Orleans Parish and is regulated by the city.

The resolution requests that Entergy New Orleans submit monthly reports to council members and their technical advisers of the number, location and nature of all unplanned electric service disruptions or reported reliability problems, as well as the duration of each outage and the status of the utility's remediation efforts.

"[A]s a result of ongoing customer complaints and ongoing outages, the Council is concerned with the overall level of [Entergy New Orleans'] distribution system reliability throughout [Entergy New Orleans'] service territory," the resolution read.

Reliability performance standards that the council has seen developed by other state utilities regulators include the following measurements: the system average interruption frequency index, or SAIFI; the system average interruption duration index, or SAIDI; and the customer average interruption duration index.

"[T]he reliability performance of [Entergy New Orleans'] distribution feeders does not indicate acceptable levels of reliability generally consistent with urban SAIFI and SAIDI standards as evidenced from a review of other regulatory jurisdictions that have regulations governing same," the resolution read.

Thirty days after a docket is established, the council's technical advisers will file their most recent analysis of Entergy New Orleans' outages and reliability performance. Once the utility receives that analysis, Entergy New Orleans has 60 days to give the council its plans, budgets and schedules for improving the reliability performance of its distribution system. The utility has also been directed to file bimonthly reports with the council on its outages until further notice.

"This resolution is the result of ongoing and tireless efforts by myself and my fellow Councilmembers to improve the reliability of service in District 'D' and throughout the entire City," Councilmember Jared Brossett, who wrote the resolution, said in a statement. "This represents an important step in addressing customer concerns and ultimately creating a more efficient and advantageous system."

Gary Huntley, Entergy New Orleans' vice president of regulatory affairs, said in an email: "We appreciate the New Orleans City Council's efforts to address reliability and aging infrastructure here in the city, as many utilities and their respective regulators are doing across the nation. As we have been, we will continue to work with the council and its advisors to address reliability concerns. This docket formalizes that path and, as we move forward, will analyze the specific data referenced."

Council members in July updated Entergy New Orleans' integrated resource plan rules, and in May approved its internal restructuring request. Entergy New Orleans in July renewed its request to build the gas-fired New Orleans Power Station, and in May announced a $30 million grid investment.