NEW ORLEANS - Today, Council Public Works Chair Joe Giarrusso and Utilities Chair Helena Moreno announced the advancement of a plan to build a permanent new power supply for the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) by constructing a $75 million linkage with Entergy New Orleans. The plan, funded directly by the SWBNO, State Capital Outlay dollars, and bond funding, presents a fundamental shift in the way SWBNO powers its drainage and water systems while fixing the generational problem of power reliability from SWBNO aging turbines.
“The substation is the single most important infrastructure project in the City of New Orleans. It affects us all," said District "A" Councilmember Joe Giarrusso. "For the first time, we will have a new, reliable, cleaner, and quieter substation at the Sewerage and Water Board. This could not have happened without the partnership of Mayor Cantrell, SWBNO, Entergy New Orleans, the New Orleans Delegation, and the Council. This is not a victory lap, but with this investment, we are getting out of the starting gate to plan for our future.”
“Solving the problem of power generation at SWBNO is long overdue, but thanks to the collaboration of this Mayor, Council, Entergy New Orleans, SWBNO, and our legislative delegation, we finally have a permanent solution,” said Council Utilities Chair and President Helena Moreno. “Over the past several years, this Council, in its utility regulation over Entergy New Orleans, has been laser-focused on reliability, resiliency, vastly reducing environmental impact, and real cost savings - and this plan is a win on all counts.”
“Today marked an important step forward in the partnership between the City, the New Orleans City Council, the Sewerage and Water Board, and Entergy New Orleans to bring a critical piece of infrastructure to fruition,” said Deanna Rodriguez, president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans.
The plan contains three components, all of which work in a cooperative manner to replace the current group of aging turbines that provide SWBNO with its baseload power to run its water and drainage systems. The first component is the substation, built by Entergy New Orleans and paid for by SWBNO directly through their monthly power bills as a facility charge. The second is the frequency changers, which convert standard line power into the 25hz standard used by SWBNO’s equipment, paid for by city bonds. The final component is the integration and outfitting costs to connect the components together, which are paid for by State Capital Outlay funds.
“We know that fully modernizing our power generation system is key to both the future of this agency and this city,” said Ghassan Korban, Executive Director of SWBNO. “That is why we are working tirelessly, in coordination with our partners from Mayor Cantrell's administration, the City Council, and Entergy New Orleans to bring a dedicated substation to our Carrollton Water Plant. This new, state-of-the-art equipment will bring sustainability, reliability, and a better quality of life to all New Orleanians."
"This partnership with Entergy New Orleans and Sewage and Water Board is a critical first step towards reliable and sustainable power sources for our city's residents," said District "C" Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer. "What this $75 million will do is significantly reduce two major quality of life issues -- boil water advisories and street flooding -- without a rate increase for our residents."
"Public safety includes more than just police. Since I took office, I have been calling for sensible solutions to Sewerage and Water Board's aging infrastructure. For many years, these issues were kicked down the road, but we have been intentional in getting this done," said District "B" Councilmember Jay H. Banks. "As a result of our hard work, this partnership is a major win for providing drinking water, drainage, and reducing carbon emissions, all critical public safety issues. The real win is that these necessary public safety enhancements are being provided while not increasing the ratepayer's bills. Rarely can government achieve a 'win, win, win' but this new substation represents an environmentally safe, economically viable, common-sense solution for the ratepayers of New Orleans."
Collectively, the new system will provide up to 60MW of power for SWBNO operations and will provide baseload power to run the facility.
Presentations from both SWBNO and ENO are available on the Council’s website.
The resolutions, co-signed by all seven Councilmembers, will next go to the full Council meeting next week on Thursday, July 1. Regulatory approval for the ENO/SWBNO collaboration will appear through application to the Utilities Committee later this summer. The entire project is expected to be operational by 2023.