Insights > Entergy System Winter Storm Update – 2/16/21 @ 5 p.m.
Entergy System Winter Storm Update – 2/16/21 @ 5 p.m.
As we continue managing restoration from the previous winter weather and low temperatures, we are preparing for additional winter storms to threaten our service territory on Feb. 17.
Extremely cold weather continues to affect operations across our territory. Low-temperature records below zero and in the teens dating back to 1903 have been met and exceeded in several locations, especially southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. Mississippi hasn’t seen single digit air temperatures in more than thirty years.
We’re preparing for additional winter weather to strike our area:
- Freezing rain, ice and cold temperatures could affect our territory and lead to additional power outages.
- We remind customers that ice accumulating on trees and power lines can result in power outages.
- We’ve already brought in extra personnel and are providing for their well-being while they work for our customers.
- Road closures due to icy conditions and other accessibility challenges may affect the ability of crews to reach some areas and could delay restoration in those communities.
- Crews will continue to take extra safety precautions and practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could slow restoration as well.
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.
Low temperatures across our territory created extremely high demand for electricity.
- Entergy’s reliability coordinator, MISO, cancelled its order for power outages in Texas and Louisiana. Shortly afterward, operators began restoring customers back to service who were affected by these outages. However, winter weather in the forecast could cause additional outages over the next few days.
- Crews made incredible progress to return several power plants to service which allows the company to meet customer demand at this time. We are closely watching and preparing for additional winter weather that will impact our service area.
- Since the earlier winter storm and extremely low temperatures, we further winterized our power plants. We especially focused on areas that failed or froze earlier and have taken additional steps to winterize those areas.
- Additionally, we added insulation to some areas of our plants, placed more heaters on critical equipment and added barricades to block wind from other key equipment.
- We continue adding customers back, but we face challenges restoring power quickly due to the difficulty of adding customers back during cold weather.
- Crews are currently working to restore customers affected by the load shed. This part of our restoration process could take many hours to complete. Additionally, some equipment may have been damaged due to the cold weather and the amount of load being consumed.
We ask customers to minimize energy usage as much as possible until the extreme cold weather passes:
- Keep warm, not hot. Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. When possible, wear additional layers of clothing.
- Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use.
- When the sun is shining, open blinds, drapes and curtains to let in the sun’s warmth.
- Hold off on doing chores. Delay laundry, washing dishes and other non-essential uses of electricity.
- Wash clothes with cold water, shower quickly instead of taking a bath, 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.
We have made great progress restoring service to our customers who lost power due to the bad weather. Outages at 4 p.m. on Feb. 16 were 257,785. Since then, we have restored nearly 101,000 customer outages. At 3 p.m., 156,186 customer outages remained, including:
We continue experiencing a delay in reflecting restoration status on the outage map, causing temporary discrepancies in information presented. We are working to correct the issues and apologize for the inconvenience.
If power is restored in your area and/or an outage at your location is not displayed on the map, please contact us to report your outage. To report an outage, call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243), or, if registered, text OUT to 36778.
The high level of instantaneous demand is hampering efforts to restore power in some areas. Customers without power should turn off or unplug electric heat systems and appliances and turn them back on gradually after power is restored.
Our territory is experiencing an extreme demand for electricity.
- High electrical power demand has caused a power shortage and issues caused by the freeze continue impacting generation units and transmission lines.
- We have begun targeted customer outages to prevent the possibility of more extensive and wider spread outages.
- These outages may last several hours and it is not necessary to report your outage during this time. If you have a life-threatening emergency please call 1-8009OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Because of the extreme cold temperatures, resuming to full operation is a slower than usual process.
- We are working to minimize outage times as much as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience this outage has caused and appreciate your understanding.
- We have assembled a workforce of nearly 7,000 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.
- Our restoration workforce is restoring power for our customers where it is safe to do so. Road closures due to icy conditions and other accessibility challenges due to the storm may affect our ability to reach some areas of our territory and could delay restoration in those communities.
- There can be many factors that cause momentary interruptions in power. During extremely cold weather, the electric load increases significantly in comparison to “normal" cold weather conditions. Colder temperatures during the early morning and late-night hours can prompt many customers to heat their homes around the same time. This can sometimes cause voltage variations, causing power to go off and on repeatedly. Report such incidents to entergy.com or 1-800-9-OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
- Due to the additional measures crews must take, restoration may take longer, especially where there are widespread outages. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing and we ask that customers do the same. For their safety and yours, please stay away from work zones.
- The extreme cold temperatures for the service area are expected to bring periodic snow and ice throughout the week, which already has caused generation and transmission challenges for Entergy’s operating companies and its neighboring utilities.
- These are extreme conditions creating high demand for electricity. It takes more electricity to heat your home. When using an air conditioner to cool, excess heat is taken from inside your home and moved outside. Heating your home requires a machine inside to make heat and then move it.
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 restoration focus includes ensuring the safety of our workers.
- Workers restore service where it is safe to do so.
- We restore 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 of customers safely in the shortest amount of time.
Customers should remain prepared:
- Charge up mobile devices and back-up batteries.
- Download the Entergy app and sign up for text updates.
- 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.
- Click here for more information on how to prepare.
Here is what our customers can expect from us in responding to this storm:
- We have assembled and organized 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 respond to these 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.
Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in attempts to scam our customers during these winter storms.
- Entergy customer service representatives never demand immediate payment from customers over the phone. You shouldn't give your personal information to strangers.
- If a call sounds suspicious, hang-up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak directly with an Entergy customer service representative.
- If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general's office.