Insights > Entergy System Winter Storm Alert - 2/13/21 @ 5 p.m.
Entergy System Winter Storm Alert - 2/13/21 @ 5 p.m.
A series of winter storms is rapidly closing in on our state and communities. We encourage you to finalize your preparations.
Predicting outages caused by winter storms is challenging due to their nature. Areas of freezing temperatures and precipitation can vary widely with just a few degrees difference in the predicted and resulting weather.
In addition to our internal workforce, we are acquiring offsite resources to help restore power. We bring in resources in advance of bad weather to avoid travel risk as much as possible. We continue refining the number of additional resources based on the latest weather forecasts. Our internal crews and damage assessment teams are staged close to home locations to respond quickly when conditions are safe.
We model anticipated damage and are working through our checklists, have opened local command centers, are stocking up on needed materials, readying our trucks for driving on snow and ice, organizing the manpower and arranging for food and lodging for the crews.
Ice is particularly harmful to electrical lines:
- Ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times.
- At 1/8 inch of freezing rain accumulation, small limbs and lines become coated and can cause isolated outages by breaking the weakest limbs that are overhanging services and lines.
- At 1/4 inch of freezing rain accumulation, more limbs and lines become coated, causing similar, but somewhat more widespread outages to the distribution system. Younger evergreen trees will start to become so heavy that they may lean into the distribution lines, causing more outages.
- A 1/2" accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.
Cold Weather Restoration
We use a methodical and calculated process in bringing customers back online after an outage in very cold weather, regardless of whether the initial cause of the outage was specifically weather-related.
- 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.
- Customers without power can 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 other appliances to spread out the increase in power usage over a longer time.
- Click here for more information about restoration in extremely cold conditions.
Our preparations include ensuring the safety of our workers.
- Workers will begin restoration when it is safe to do so.
- When it is safe, we can begin restoring service to customers by closing circuit breakers, rerouting power and other means.
- As we learn more about the damage, we put in place a restoration plan that helps us restore the greatest number customers safely in the shortest amount of time.
We are all keenly aware of the damage major winter storms have caused in the last few days and in recent years. We’ve learned from them and we’re ready for these next rounds.
- Ice accumulating on trees and power lines can result in power outages.
- We have a plan of continuous preparation, training and action that we call Operation: Storm Ready.
- We’ve improved our operations based on previous storm responses and our annual storm drills.
- The first step of our action plan is to bring in extra personnel and make sure we can take care of them.
Customers should be prepared, as well:
- Charge up mobile devices and back-up batteries.
- Download the Entergy app to and sign up for text updates.
- Review guidance at entergystormcenter.com.
- If you have medical equipment that requires electricity to properly function, take necessary steps to secure an alternative source of electricity in the event of a power disruption.
- Have an emergency kit including flashlights, medicine, first aid, water and food.
Here is what our customers can expect from us in responding to this storm:
- We will assemble and organize the workforce we need to restore service safely and quickly to all customers.
- We will keep you informed about our restoration progress using the channels listed below.
- After the storm, it could take up to three days of our scouts assessing damage before we will know how long it will take to restore everyone’s power.
- While we are assessing damage, we will begin restoring service where it is safe to do so.
Facing a winter storm is very challenging. As you prepare, keep in mind that it could take several days after the storm is over before we restore power to most of our customers.
- We use weather forecasts and computer models based on knowledge from past storms to predict an estimated number of customers without power and the number of days needed to restore power.
- We can restore power faster in areas with less damage. Some of the hardest-hit areas could take longer, so you may want to factor this into your decisions as you prepare for the storm.
- We will know more after the storm passes and we are able to fully assess damages.
If you lose power:
- Stay away from downed power lines. You can’t tell from looking at them whether they are energized or not, so assume they are. Report them to 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Report your power outage online or call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243). If you report your outage by phone, trust the automated system. It works very well. There is no need to speak with a customer service representative to report an outage.
- If you have a portable generator, use it safely. DO NOT run it in an enclosed space. If connecting to the whole house, do so only if the connection has been installed by a licensed electrician.
- Do not open your refrigerator or freezer door. Food will stay cold much longer this way. If outside temperature is below freezing, consider placing food in an ice chest outside.
- Stay clear of linemen as they work.
To stay up to date on outages and restoration:
- Download the Entergy app for Apple or Android operating systems at Entergy.com/app.
- Register for address-specific alerts by texting REG to 36778. Customers will need an account number and ZIP code. Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage.
- Visit “View Outages.”
- Follow us at https://twitter.com/entergy or https://www.facebook.com/entergy.
- Follow updates in local news media, including radio, television and newspapers.
- For tips on battling winter’s chill, while still keeping a lid on energy bills, go to Entergy’s Storm Center and view our Operation: Storm Ready Guide.
As we face the possibility of winter storms, we want to be sure you are prepared.
- Above all, stay safe. A personal plan for you and your family is the best way to stay safe and be storm ready.
- Visit the Entergy Storm Center website for planning tools that can help guide you through the decisions you need to make.
- As we focus resources on storm restoration, routine tasks, such as installation of new service, are likely to be delayed.