Steamplant producing power again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2000

The Natchez Steamplant, on reserve for the last 15 years, is running again – and that’s good news for Entergy customers who were baking in last week’s heat wave, said Entergy Customer Service Manager Forest Persons.

Today, Entergy will hold a grand reopening for the 50-year-old steamplant, which Entergy refurbished at a cost of $6.4 million.

Referred to as a &uot;peaking unit,&uot; the 73-megawatt steamplant can produce enough energy for about 4,500 houses, Persons said. The plant runs when extra power is needed – such as last week, when record high temperatures scorched the Miss-Lou.

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The steamplant does not serve any particular area, Persons said. The energy it generates joins the energy reserve generated by all of Entergy’s power plants. He likened the system to an extension cord, with different lines from different power plants.

&uot;When you get close to the limit of what our extension cord can handle&uot; the Natchez Steamplant can add more energy, he said.

The steamplant employs 12 people, one part-time. It will operate from February to October each year. The steamplant is one of five plants brought back online this year to meet the summer demand for electricity.

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

Dedicated June 18, 1951, the Natchez Steam Electric Station was the second Mississippi Power and Light site for a power plant, behind Rex Brown in Jackson.

The investment in reopening the Natchez Steamplant and the other plants is part of a $4.2 billion five-year capital improvement plan the company announced last December.