Extremely cold weather can create heavy demand for power and affect the electric system, causing outages that may take longer than normal to restore. Here’s why:
Extremely low temperatures of 25 degrees or less cause abnormally high demand for power that can create isolated overloads of the electric distribution system. In most cases, extremely high demand occurs in areas where customers have all-electric homes.
Heating systems and appliances are often left on during initial service disruption, creating too much energy demand all at once when power is restored. Electric heaters in particular can create a constant power demand, as they tend to run continuously and do not power off and on during periods of extreme cold.
This demand causes restoration to take place in sections rather than in larger compositions.
“During cold weather extremes, we use a methodical and calculated process to bring customers back online after an outage,” said Dennis Dawsey, Entergy’s vice president of customer service in Louisiana. “Rather than simply energizing an entire power line at once, we must bring customers back online one section at a time to avoid damage to our distribution system and make the situation worse. This takes more time to restore power to affected customers than if we were able to restore the entire line at the same time.”
Customers should monitor the weather and have a plan. Click here to view our Storm Ready Guide, which has a section on preparing for extreme winter weather. Also, for winter energy-efficiency tips, view our recent news releases located along the sidebar to the right of this article.