Entergy Arkansas: Limit electrical use; “periodic” power outages could occur with more winter weather demand

0
475

As extreme cold winter weather continues, another round of snow and freezing rain will impact the state this evening and is expected to continue through Thursday. Temperatures are also expected to remain well below freezing. These extreme cold conditions and precipitation can create problems for an electric system and make for hazardous driving conditions, slowing restoration. As of 6 p.m. Tuesday, there were approximately 220 customers without power, according to Entergy Arkansas.

The utility released a statement encouraging customers to severely limit their electric unit or periodic load shed power outages could occur.

The statement from Entergy Arkansas:

We continue to experience a delay in reflecting restoration status on the outage map, causing temporary discrepancies in information presented and available through two-way text and outage reporting status updates. We are working to correct the issues and apologize for the inconvenience.

We have approximately 1,400 resources engaged in restoration efforts and that number could increase as we work to bring in additional mutual assistance resources from outside the state. We are responding to outages quickly and as safely as possible when they occur. Our team will continue to practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this may slow restoration work.

We strongly request our customers limit electricity usage immediately and continue to do so until further notice. This unusual request is due to the demand for electricity potentially exceeding the available generation because of extreme cold and weather. The company’s reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, has made this request to Entergy and other utilities in its footprint, including other utilities in our area. If the power supply cannot meet the demand, then periodic load shed power outages would be needed to prevent an extensive power outage that could last for an extended period. Some ways we encourage customers to help is included in our latest news release:

Customers are asked to continue to conserve electricity, as another winter storm approaches.

  • Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees and adjust window units accordingly.
  • Use energy-efficient ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the warm air to help with your comfort.
  • Open blinds, drapes, and curtains to let in warmth from the sun.
  • Delay laundry, washing dishes, bathing, and other non-essential uses of electricity until this appeal for conservation has ended.
  • Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowest possible setting, and refrain from opening the oven door while baking.
  • Don’t allow warmed air to escape from the home.

For additional tips and cold weather updates, visit http://entergy.com/cold.

STORM 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.  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 via the White River Now media family.

Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLEOutlaw 106.5, and Your FM 99.5. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at news@whiterivernow.com. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.

Remember: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing.

Leave a Reply