|Over the past few months, resident customers of Entergy Texas have reported experiencing several power outages. Entergy reports the outages between July and September were caused by “dig-ins” by members of the public, underground cable failures by bad transformers, and one outage was caused by a storm. After repairing these outages, Entergy states it has conducted an aggressive plan to upgrade the equipment across the Grogan’s Mill area. 85 electrical and construction workers were brought in to install new conduit, wire and equipment. Entergy intends to continue the work to upgrade the system and address outages to modernize their system.
The Conroe Courier reported on September 11, 2019:
One new plan, according to a release from company officials, is the purchase and installation of about 50 devices called a “recloser.” The device is akin to a circuit breaker that “temporarily opens a line when momentary problems occur,” which could include wind knocking down tree branches, squirrels or other animals interfering with the power line.
Kacee Kirschvink, senior communications specialist for Entergy Texas, Inc., said while the “recloser” technology is not a new development, officials with the company decided to make an investment in the devices for the sake of customer satisfaction and to reduce power outages. The project will see about 50 “reclosers” installed in areas throughout the company’s Southeast Texas territory, and Entergy’s other divisions in New Orleans, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi will also have the devices installed in those regions.
“These are mainly overhead devices, We’ve already started installing them, there is currently one in The Woodlands and others elsewhere in the region,” Kirschvink said. “All of our operating companies are doing this as part of our ongoing reliability improvements. This is a great way to enhance reliability. We think it is worth it for our customers to help with power outages.”
Allen East, vice president of distribution for Entergy Texas, Inc., said in the release that company officials used historical data to decide where to place the nearly 50 new devices — which cost about $50,000 each — in the community in an effort to better protect customers and residents from the power outages that have plagued the region since January.
Despite a local cost approaching more than $2.5 million for the project, East said the project is well worth it.
“We continually strive to provide our customers with safe, reliable power at the lowest reasonable cost,” East said. “This is why we continuously work to make our electrical system stronger and more resilient. We are improving the grid to better serve you.”
Representatives from Entergy Texas will present an update on the recent outages to the Board of Directors at the October 17 meeting.
The Township’s Transportation and Infrastructure Department has formed a working group of stakeholder utility companies and other organizations affected by outages caused by boring contractors working in the road right-of-ways. The working group is collecting and sharing information related to the cause of outages and to formulate recommendations, improve communications and develop possible new procedures for reducing the number of “bore-ins". The Woodlands Township does not have authority over utility providers or boring contractors working in the County road right-of-ways.