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Entergy Arkansas: Heavy demand during cold could cause power disruption

Approximately 1,600 customers remained without power Sunday evening after about 7,000 were disrupted earlier in the day as winter weather blew across the state, according to Entergy Arkansas. Forecasts call for even more extreme temperatures, sleet, and snow this week, with an unprecedented demand for electricity likely.

“The current load forecasts are approaching an all-time winter peak, even greater than those experienced during the polar vortex of January 2019,” said Michael Considine, vice president of customer service. “This high demand for electricity poses unique obstacles when crews work to restore electricity when the power goes out.”

Colder than normal temperatures during the early morning and overnight hours can prompt a large number of customers to increase the heat used in their homes and therefore the demand, company officials said, which can cause voltage variations and repeated power disruptions.

If customers lose electricity, they can help with restore times by turning off major appliances and heating units. Once power is restored, customers should gradually power on appliances and heating systems to prevent a high level of instantaneous demand.

Entergy Arkansas also has procedures it must follow to prevent further damage to weather-ravaged equipment, which can affect when in the process a customer will be restored.

“Rather than simply energizing an entire power line all at once,” Considine said, “we must bring customers back online one section at a time to avoid damage to our system and possibly cause additional outages.”

The extremely cold temperatures for the service area are raising the potential for generation and transmission challenges for Entergy’s operating companies and its neighboring utilities.

“We ask you to be particularly mindful of your energy use during this extreme cold to help reduce the strain on the electric system by practicing safe energy conservation efforts,” Considine said.

Some ways customers can help us manage through this period:

  • Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees or lower if possible.
  • Open blinds and draperies to let in warmth from the sun during the daytime.
  • Delay laundry, washing dishes, bathing, and other non-essential uses of electricity until this appeal for conservation has ended.
  • Wash clothes with cold water, 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.

To stay up to date on outages and restoration:

  • Download the Entergy app for Apple or Android operating systems at www.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” page at www.EntergyStormCenter.com.
  • Follow Entergy Arkansas at Twitter.com/EntergyArk or Facebook.com/EntergyArk.
  • 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.

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.
  • Report your power outage online to Entergy Arkansas or call 1-800-9OUTAGE. 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, for your safety and theirs.

For tips and cold weather updates, visit http://entergy.com/cold. To report outages, use the Entergy app or call 1-800-9OUTAGE.


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