Entergy to reopen Natchez Steamplant

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2000

Entergy will reopen the nearly 50-year-old Natchez Steamplant this summer, a move that will bring jobs to the city and more available power to the company, Entergy officials said.

Reopening the 73-megawatt steamplant, which shut down in the early 1990s, could bring 10 jobs to the area, said Entergy corporate communications manager Checky Herrington.

But the added power will also benefit the company’s customers, he said. &uot;It adds to the available power for Entergy Mississippi,&uot; Herrington said.

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&uot;This represents an investment by this company back into the community,&uot; Entergy Mississippi President and CEO&160;Carolyn Shanks said. &uot;We’re trying to establish Entergy as a company you are proud to have as part of your community.&uot;

Last July, a heat wave and the unexpected shutdown of two plants forced the company into a brownout. Customers in four states lost power at 30-minute intervals as Entergy tried to conserve its power reserves.

&uot;During the summer when it’s so hot in the South we’re able to draw on the power resources of companies in areas where it isn’t so hot,&uot; Herrington said. &uot;Because if the heat wave across the country, we weren’t able to do that.&uot;

Herrington said the company’s plan to reopen the Natchez Steamplant — and five other reserve plants in its system in other states — will help prevent similar outages in the future. The investment is part of a $4.2 billion five-year capital improvement plan the company announced last December.

&uot;No utility company can guarantee there won’t be any outages,&uot; Herrington said. &uot;But we want to take every step we can to avoid them.&uot;

But before the Natchez Steamplant is operational, Entergy must clean and test all of the equipment in the plant and install new environmental monitoring equipment, Herrington said. &uot;That wasn’t required a decade ago,&uot; he said.

Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said the Entergy investment in the steamplant is &uot;good for the whole community.&uot;

&uot;It’s built, it’s still good, reliable and functioning,&uot; Brown said. &uot;The unfortunate thing is it’s not bigger.&uot;