Entergy La Storm Drill5

Entergy Prepares for 2023 Hurricane Season Through Louisiana Storm Drill

May 18, 2023
Employees respond to mock storm scenarios and share knowledge and new technologies.

Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst: That is what about 400 Entergy Louisiana and Entergy New Orleans employees tackled head on over two days, from May 10-11, during the companies’ 2023 hurricane season storm drill.

The drill is one portion of the ongoing training that employees undergo throughout the year.

Employees kicked off day one by participating in various training and tabletop exercises that introduced them to new tools, technologies and processes. The drill is designed to help them restore power quickly and safely following severe weather and keep customers informed throughout those events. On day two, employees concluded their training by participating in a mock storm drill.

During the simulated hurricane scenarios, employees responded to two Category 5 hurricanes, with one making landfall in Southwest Louisiana and another in Southeast Louisiana. They tested their knowledge and skills related to all facets of storm restoration including operations, logistics, communications and customer service and were evaluated on their planning and execution.

“We know that it’s not a matter of if but when Mother Nature decides to challenge us in Louisiana, and for that reason, we must be ready,” said Steven Benyard, vice president of reliability for Entergy in Louisiana. “The storm drill that we participate in every year is about continuous improvement; it’s about making sure that we’re readying ourselves and our workforce to be the best that we can be if we’re called to restore power following a major storm.”

The exercise involved storm roles from incident commander to crew leads and supervisors who will use new technologies to perform damage assessments quickly and safely, a critical part of storm restoration that helps local crews restore power in a real scenario through resource and logistics actions like deploying any necessary equipment, materials, and personnel.

Entergy’s drone experts were onsite with displays and equipment that is used by crews to assess damages to the electric system, especially in hard-to-access locations like the marsh or heavily wooded areas with the saturated ground. Disaster Resource Group, a local vendor that partners with the company during storm response, was also onsite displaying components of a staging site like a bunk trailer that is typically used by utility workers during rest time and temporary tents that provide shelter for catering and laundry services.

Also, Entergy showcased its new mobile command center. The vehicle will function as a field command center, providing an immediate communications platform during major system incident response or mutual assistance events.

“The storm drill we hold each year is a testament to the dedication of our workforce and their commitment to being there for the communities we serve,” said Phillip May, who has served as Entergy Louisiana’s president and CEO through many weather events, including hurricanes Laura and Ida. “We can’t predict the future or when and where the next major storm will land, but we can certainly ready ourselves to do what we’ve always done — be there for our customers, even in the most challenging times.”

“We live in an area prone to some of the most severe weather in the country, and are facing stronger and more frequent storms,” said Deanna Rodriguez, Entergy New Orleans president and CEO. “While we continue to invest in hardening the grid, today’s storm drill is an important exercise for our teams to prepare for anything Mother Nature may bring.”

Preparing Customers
Although Entergy is always upgrading the electric system and adding in resilience, the company is encouraging customers to be prepared for hurricane season as well because no two storms are alike and each present different challenges and can inflict different levels of damage.   

Entergy provides information to customers to help them prepare for hurricane season and communicates with them after a severe weather event. The company’s Storm Center includes checklists and other information that customers can use to create a pre-storm kit and prepare for hurricane season. The website includes individual pages on preparationsafety and restoration. Customers are also encouraged to follow Entergy New Orleans and Entergy Louisiana on Facebook and Twitter at @EntergyNOLA and @EntergyLA.

Looking to the Future
Entergy recognizes that the intensity and frequency of major storms are increasing and believes we must take an accelerated approach to storm hardening and building resilience into the electric system. To provide reliable power well into the future and help the communities we serve recover more quickly following severe weather events, the company filed Entergy Future Ready Resilience Plans with its regulators, the New Orleans City Council and the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

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