Insights > Entergy Arkansas Winter Storm Update: 5 p.m. 2/15/21

Entergy Arkansas Winter Storm Update: 5 p.m. 2/15/21

02/15/2021

Extremely cold winter weather will continue to impact the state throughout the week as temperatures remain below freezing. Light snow is expected to continue over most of the state with more of a wintry mix across lower parts of southern Arkansas into the night. These extreme cold conditions and precipitation can create problems for an electric system and make for hazardous driving conditions, slowing restoration. We are strongly requesting our customers to limit electricity usage immediately. This unusual request is due to the demand for electricity potentially exceeding the available generation because of extreme cold and weather currently impacting the service territory. Current load forecasts are approaching an all-time peak, exceeding those experienced during the polar vortex of January 2019. 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 power outages would be needed to prevent an extensive power outage that could last for an extended period.

We have approximately 1,400 restoration resources, along with mutual assistance crews from outside the state, responding to outages quickly and as safely as possible as they occur. Our team will continue to practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this may slow restoration work. For tips and cold weather updates, visit http://entergy.com/cold.

 

FORECASTED SECOND WINTER WEATHER EVENT AND STORM RESTORATION PROCESS

Entergy Arkansas is closely monitoring forecasts of a second winter storm this week expected to bring more sub-freezing temperatures and another round of snow Wednesday evening and overnight into Thursday. 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.

Arkansas Editorial Team