- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Entergy Gulf States Louisiana says it plans to build a $187 million transmission project in the Lake Charles area, part of the utility’s effort to ready its grid for rising electricity demand amid a regional industrial boom.

In a statement Thursday, Entergy said the work would be one of the largest transmission projects in its history. If approved, Entergy expects the project to be in service by 2018.

Construction includes two new substations and the expansion of a third. NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1xLiztQ) Entergy also plans to add 25 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines to “move power more reliably and efficiently.”

The project comes as Entergy prepares to provide electricity to new projects planned for south Louisiana, including chemical plants, petro-chemical expansions and liquefied natural gas export facilities.

Entergy’s board of directors approved the Lake Charles transmission project in December, but it still needs approval of the Louisiana Public Service Commission before it can move forward.

Entergy is allowed by law to recapture some of the cost of improvement projects from customers. It’s not yet clear if Entergy would seek to recover costs from the Lake Charles project.

In its statement, Entergy said the Lake Charles transmission project benefits both industrial and residential customers.

The company said the new power lines will open access to low-cost electricity sources from markets operated by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc., a regional grid operator.

Entergy handed over control of its grid to MISO in December 2013, a move it credits with lowering the cost of producing and delivering electricity to customers.

If approved, Entergy expects construction on the Lake Charles project to begin in 2016.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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