Major projects to add resiliency to SWBNO power supply underway

NEW ORLEANS – The loss of Turbine generator 5 (T5) in December greatly reduced the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans’ (SWBNO) supply of redundant, backup power it can use during major rain events. A longer-range plan to replace that loss is underway, but it will take time and considerable funding – an estimated $20 million – that this utility does not have at the present time. To protect the remaining power supply this hurricane season, SWBNO has taken several proactive steps to harden its generators, feeders, and auxiliary equipment. These efforts will reduce the risk of future outages that occur during rain events. It will not prevent outages all together, considering that significant aspects of the drainage and power systems are more than 100 years old and in great need of upgrades.

SWBNO leadership shared its projects to improve the power system’s resiliency with the City Council on June 11.

Power Resiliency Projects Estimated Cost Status/Estimated Completion

Hooked Electro-Motive Diesel generators (12.5 MW) to T5 bus to become primary power

n/a Complete

Performed maintenance repairs on boilers to better protect steam production for turbine generators

n/a Complete

Repaired pedestal; realigned drive train and inspected the gear box for Turbine 1 (T1)


Upgraded the control system; made minor repairs, ordered spare parts and gave full inspection for Turbine 6 (T6)

$700,000 Complete

Installing new electrical feeder from T6 to Carrollton Frequency Changer to improve power reliability 



Rerouting Drainage Pump Station 3’s feeder from aerial to underground to better protect it during rain events

$3.5 million November

Rebuilding outdoor switchgear to improve power reliability


Upgrading ring bus at Central Control to allow for better testing of 25 Hz power units

$150,000 July


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