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Cold Weather Restoration Explained

Published: 01/02/2018

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 making the situation worse. This takes more time to restore power to affected customers than if we were able to restore the entire line at once.”

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, here are some energy efficiency tips to follow during the winter season:

- During the winter months, set the thermostat to 68 degrees. Every degree higher can add 3 percent to your bill.

- Conserve hot water. Wrap your hot water heater with a water heater blanket and set the thermostat to 120 degrees or medium.

- Replace air and furnace filters every 30 days or as required by the type of filter.

- When you change your light bulbs, replace them with newer, energy-efficient models that use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs.

- Seal air leaks. Install weather stripping around your doors, windows and any location where there may be a path between the inside and outside of your home.

David Freese