Storm Center > Entergy system winter storm update – 2/3/22, 9 a.m.

Entergy system winter storm update – 2/3/22, 9 a.m.

02/03/2022

Winter storm preparations in Arkansas.
Winter storm preparations in Arkansas.
Winter storm preparations in Arkansas.
Winter storm preparations in Arkansas.

The winter storm moving through our service area is affecting power delivery to customers in Arkansas and parts of Mississippi.

At 9 a.m., 14,920 winter storm-related customer outages occurred, including:

State

Customers Out

Arkansas

13,420

Mississippi

1,500

We have a workforce of approximately 3,000 prepared to respond to the storm. Crews and damage assessment teams are staged close to home locations to respond quickly when conditions are safe.

  • Crews will continue to take extra safety precautions and practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which could slow restoration.

We remind customers that ice accumulating on trees and power lines can result in power outages. 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 begin to cause outages by breaking limbs hanging over power lines.
  • At 1/4 inch of freezing rain accumulation, the problem becomes worse. Younger evergreen trees will start to become so heavy that they may lean onto distribution lines, causing more outages.
  • A 1/2" accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.

Customers are reminded to stay away from downed lines and, if using a portable generator, use it safely.

  • Downed power lines could be energized and dangerous. You can’t tell from looking at them whether they are energized or not, so assume they are. Report them to 1-800-9OUTAGE.
  • Also, be aware while outdoors. Ice can severely damage trees and power lines. Strong winds can add extra force to already weighted down tree branches and power lines, increasing the likelihood of power line failure.
  • 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.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with your generator. Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas to come indoors.
  • Portable generators should never be connected directly to a home or building’s wiring, even through an outlet. They may send electricity to the power lines linemen are working to restore.

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.

Restoration Information

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.

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 making 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 service is restored.
  • 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.
  • Restoring all customers on the same power line simultaneously can create large, instantaneous power demands. The instant demand could be higher than the built-in protective devices on a line were designed to handle.
  • 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 by turning off major appliances but leaving on a lamp or other light to indicate when power is restored. Then, gradually turn other appliances on to spread out the increase in power usage over a longer time.

Our preparations include ensuring the safety of our workers.

  • Workers will begin restoration work when it is safe to do so.
  • In some cases, we can restore service by re-setting breakers on the power lines and re-routing power around damaged facilities. We do this first, then move on to repairing what is broken.
  • As we learn more about the damage, we develop a restoration plan to 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 recent years. We’ve learned from them and we’re ready for additional winter storms.

  • 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 more than 100 years of experience in previous storm responses, as well as annual storm drills.
  • A first step of our action plan is to bring in extra personnel and make arrangements for their food, lodging, etc. 

Customers should be prepared, as well:

  • Charge 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 steps to secure an alternative source of electricity or make plans to move to an alternate location 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 to complete damage assessment 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. 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. Harder-hit areas take longer.
  • 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.
  • Report your power outage online 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. 

Entergy Began Prep Months Ago

Entergy continually reviews its data and processes and has identified ways to be more prepared for prolonged freezes.

Our power plants have customized plans to support fleetwide winter preparedness efforts, including:

  • Insulating critical equipment using improved methods and materials to protect them from lower temperatures.
  • Insulating all piping, with the potential for standing water during normal operation, to prevent freezing.
  • Designing and building permanent windbreaks or enclosures to protect pumps and other critical equipment.
  • Exploring the use of wireless instrument line monitoring systems to monitor temperatures of critical equipment.

Other efforts to prepare and maintain critical systems and infrastructure across the grid in advance of colder temperatures included:

  • Inspecting and testing equipment that can be impacted by extreme cold such as gas-filled circuit breakers.
  • Ensuring the readiness of assets that provide electric service to critical gas infrastructure and other points of delivery that are vital to support generation reliability and resiliency.
  • Inspecting and maintaining substations and transmission lines that are critical to Bulk Electric System reliability. 

Stay Informed

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. You can also report an outage online as a guest
  • Visit “View Outages.” 
  • Follow Entergy at Twitter.com/Entergy or 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, visit 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. 

Here are some other ways you can prepare for the storms:

Decide to stay or go well before a storm strikes. If you choose to stay, you should be prepared to be without power several days.

A kit of basic emergency supplies and a first aid kit are smart ways you can prepare for severe weather.

A little advance preparation before a storm hits is helpful in surviving a power outage. Consider keeping on hand:

  • Flashlights and batteries.
  • A battery-powered radio to keep informed of the status of the outage.
  • A battery-powered lantern to illuminate larger spaces.
  • Battery-operated cellphone chargers.
  • Matches and candles.
  • Canned foods and bottled water.
  • Camping gear, such as portable lanterns, cook stoves and warm sleeping bags.
  • Extra batteries in a variety of cell sizes for extended power outages, along with batteries for critical-care devices.

We will keep our workers safe during the storm response.

  • As the storm approaches, keeping our workers safe from worsening weather conditions could limit our ability to restore service.
  • As the storm approaches, we will continue working to restore power. But we will keep our employees safe and sheltered should the storms present any danger to them.

You should stay safe as well. Several online resources are available to help you stay safe during severe winter weather.