New Lines Withstand Record Breaking Storm

Nov 5, 2020


The 2020 storm season has been unprecedented, and Entergy Louisiana has taken one hit after another. Laura, Delta, and Zeta. There is however a silver lining story to be found among all the devastation. It is a success story in which Irby Construction is a proud contributor.

In a joint venture with our sister Quanta Services company Dashiell, Irby completed the construction of 5.6 miles of 230kV new transmission line stretching from Nelson to Manena, Louisiana in June of 2020.

On the company’s third-quarter earnings call, October 29, 2020, the project was cited by Leo Denault, Entergy Chairman of The Board and Chief Executive Officer. While Entergy systems have required much attention in the wake of this year’s storms, Denault pointed out that recent investments in new lines proved beneficial.

“For example, in the past two years, we completed the Lake Charles and the Nelson-Manena transmission projects in the Lake Charles area. Those projects were designed to withstand 140-mile per hour winds. Every structure from those projects remain standing after enduring the brunt of Hurricane Laura, the strongest storm to hit Louisiana in over 150 years,” Denault said.

Hurricane Laura was the strongest storm to make landfall in Louisiana in 164 years and is tied for the fifth strongest to make landfall in the continental United States. Irby Construction was also part of the restoration response to the storm which required Entergy’s largest restoration effort ever mobilized in company history. More than 25,000 workers from 31 states including Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Florida from Irby Construction worked for weeks to restore power and rebuild downed lines.

Laura made landfall on August 27 and nearly a month later on September 22, Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) announced its utilities had restored power to approximately 910,000 customers who can accept power or approximately 99% of customers affected by the storm. All power was restored by October 1. A week later, Hurricane Delta made landfall.

The Nelson to Manena project in Lake Charles is just one of several storm-resistant projects Irby has constructed or is constructing. Florida Power and Light (FPL) has prioritized grid development strategies to offset storm damage via the increased burial of electrical transmission lines. FPL contracted Irby in April 2019 to provide ongoing technical support services related to customer outreach, engineering design, construction, and maintenance of underground assets.