Entergy’s distribution network includes approximately 105,000 miles of distribution lines across the utility’s 94,000-square-mile service area. We focus on executing customer-centric priority investments to improve customer outcomes, with a goal to improve reliability and power quality and deliver on our customer value promise.
Our investments in grid modernization target improved reliability and provide state-of-the-art tools and technology to improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs. These investments help prevent or mitigate system damage due to weather events and lay the foundation for incorporating newer technologies and customer solutions, including distributed energy resources and energy storage. We continually look for cost-effective ways to reduce the likelihood of customer service interruption and reduce the time it takes to restore service that has been interrupted.
System average interruption frequency index: Average number per customer per year, excluding the impact of major storm activity.
We have several grid modernization projects in various stages of development:
- Advanced metering infrastructure
- Enterprise asset management systems
- Workforce management systems
- Customer relationship management systems
- New and improved customer engagement portal
- Distribution automation
- Distribution and outage management systems
- Geospatial information systems
We are in the process of deploying advanced meters to all customers and are one third of the way through installation of 3 million advanced meters across our service area. These new meters will allow us to identify outages more quickly and, in some instances, spot problems before they occur. This is a foundational technology that will open doors to many other technological opportunities.
Our new distribution and outage management systems will detect outages faster, improve outage communications, recommend switching for service restoration, and improve visualization of the power system.
We are investing in distribution automation by deploying more smart devices on our distribution grid to report near-real-time health status and configuration of the grid to further improve restoration times and minimize customer impacts from outage conditions.
Our gas distribution business delivers natural gas to about 200,000 retail customers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Working with other gas utilities and research partners at the Gas Technology Institute, we continue to explore, support, and influence the development of new technologies to improve the safety and reliability of our gas distribution system. We are installing advanced meters to benefit our gas customers in 2020.
We also continue gas infrastructure replacement programs in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge to modernize the system by accelerating the replacement of certain vintage piping materials.
The LPSC-approved program for Baton Rouge commenced in 2015 and is scheduled to continue through 2024, replacing approximately 11 miles of pipe annually at a total program cost of approximately $48 million. In 2019, we replaced approximately 12 miles of vintage polyethylene pipe in Baton Rouge at a total cost of approximately $5 million.
Accelerated infrastructure replacement also continues in New Orleans. In 2019, we completed the replacement of 26 miles of certain vintage piping materials at a cost of approximately $14 million. We are currently seeking regulatory approval to replace all remaining low-pressure, vintage piping in New Orleans with modern, high-pressure polyethylene pipe. Benefits of high-pressure technology include enhanced safety, improved reliability, and increased storm hardening by preventing the potential for water infiltration. If approved, our replacement program will allow us to continue accelerated infrastructure replacement in New Orleans through 2027, with a total program cost from 2019 through 2027 of approximately $100 million.