According to the National Weather Service, arctic cold winter weather with several bouts of precipitation will continue to impact the state overnight and through the week. The forecast calls for below freezing temperatures and snow over most of the state with more of a wintry mix across parts of southern and eastern Arkansas. Entergy Arkansas is closely monitoring weather forecasts as these cold weather conditions and precipitation can create problems for an electric system and make for hazardous driving conditions, slowing restoration. We have assembled approximately 1,400 restoration resources, along with mutual assistance crews from outside the state, to ensure we have the people and resources ready to respond to outages quickly and safely should they occur. Our team will practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this may slow restoration work.
We are prepared for extreme winter weather, and we recommend customers prepare as well. We ask you to be particularly mindful of your energy use during this extreme cold to help reduce the strain on the electric system by practicing safe energy conservation efforts. For tips and cold weather updates, visit http://entergy.com/cold.
EXTREME WINTER WEATHER RESTORATION PROCESS
If there are widespread outages, we will deploy scouts to assess damage in all affected areas. It is during these assessments that we base our estimated restoration times. We will communicate these estimates with you, updating as new information becomes available. Our crews will simultaneously be restoring service where it is deemed safe to do so. We ask for your patience, and please know restoring your power safely and quickly is our top priority.
Please be aware the restoration process can be hampered by large instantaneous electrical demand from appliances (heating units, water heaters, etc.) when service is restored to your location, potentially overloading protective devices on Entergy’s electrical system. To help mitigate this problem, we use a methodical and calculated process in bringing customers back online after an outage in very cold weather. We may also need customer assistance. Entergy encourages customers without power to help in the restoration process by turning off major appliances but leaving on a lamp or other light to indicate when power is restored. Then, gradually turn on other appliances to spread out the increase in power usage over a longer time.
- Rather than simply energizing an entire power line all at once, we must bring customers back online one section at a time to avoid damage to our system and make the situation worse.
- During cold temperature extremes, customers tend to use a lot of electricity to keep heating or other devices running. Electric heaters often will run continuously, creating a constant power demand.
- When power is disrupted during winter, many customers leave their heating systems and appliances turned on, creating too much energy demand all at once when we try to restore power.
- Restoring all customers on the same power line has the potential to create large, instantaneous power demands. The instant demand could be higher than the built-in protective devices on a line can handle.
- We have devices that protect our system during times of normal, day-to-day operations and power demand. During weather extremes, we must change our processes to protect our system and restore power in a way that best ensures safety and reliability for our customers.
- During extreme cold weather conditions, these specific restoration challenges are experienced not just by Entergy, but throughout the industry and the country.
As with any weather event, please be mindful of the following safety tips:
- Live wires can be deadly. Stay away from downed power lines. Call 1-800-9OUTAGE or 1-800-968-8243 to report downed or dangling power lines, poles or other damaged equipment.
- Do not trim trees or remove debris on or near downed power lines. Only power company crews or their contractors should remove trees or limbs touching power lines.
- Keep away from the immediate areas where crews are working. There is always the danger of moving equipment and the possibility of construction materials or limbs or overhead wires falling to the ground.
- If you plan on using a generator for temporary power, get a licensed electrician and disconnect from the utility electric system before hooking up to your main electric panel.
- Do not run a generator in a confined space without adequate ventilation.
- Turn off any electrical appliances that can easily be turned to the off position until power is restored.
- Check on seniors, who can be particularly susceptible to extreme temperatures.
- Try to stay off the roads in affected areas. Restoration crews can work safer and faster if they don’t have to work around traffic.
We want to keep you informed and in control. The best way to get information about outages is via Entergy’s View Outage page on our website. Additional resources for your convenience:
- Download our app for your smartphone at entergy.com/app or visit Entergy Storm Center to stay informed on our restoration progress.
- Sign up for text alerts. From your cellphone, text R E G to 368374, or visit entergytext.com.
- Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @EntergyARK.
- Follow updates in your local news media, like radio, television and newspapers.