LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – More than 100 Entergy employees, along with more than 400 contractors, are working seven days a week to rebuild electrical facilities damaged during five distinct tornadoes on April 27, including the first twister of 2014 to earn a high-end rating of EF4, packing winds between 166-200 mph.
While power has been restored to all customers who can receive it after the storms, Entergy Arkansas employees in several departments are continuing a massive, coordinated effort to rebuild numerous transmission and distribution facilities, including the Mayflower substation, one of the three major substations that supplies power to metropolitan Little Rock.
“Entergy Arkansas is taking immediate and preemptive steps to ensure the integrity of the electrical system after extensive damage at our Mayflower substation,” said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “In addition to building a temporary substation that will be in place by mid-June, we’re using infrared technology to ensure undamaged facilities are operating smoothly and conducting more frequent aerial patrols to inspect and monitor critical transmission lines,” McDonald said.
The damage sustained in the April tornado has reduced the company’s back-up power options to some customers. With summer approaching, the possibility of more severe thunderstorms with damaging winds means Entergy must prepare customers for the remote possibility of a power interruption in the Little Rock area.
“We are committed to rebuilding our facilities so that the transmission grid that supplies power to Central Arkansas is as reliable as before the storm,” McDonald added. “Restoration costs of this magnitude are very fluid. Based upon Entergy Arkansas’ damage assessments to date, preliminary estimates are between $90 million to $120 million for the transmission, substation and distribution rebuild before insurance proceeds,” McDonald said.
For over an hour on April 27, the EF4 tornado tore a half-mile wide path of destruction from Ferndale, in western Pulaski County, 41 miles through the Faulkner County towns of Mayflower and Vilonia, where it reached its maximum strength, until it ended in El Paso. Houses and businesses were leveled. Sixteen people were killed, making the late-April storm the deadliest single tornado in Arkansas since 1968.
As the utility works to rebuild key components of the grid, Entergy Arkansas reminds customers of numerous low- or no-cost ways to save money and energy though an award-winning portfolio of more than a dozen energy efficiency programs for residential and business customers. Click
here for information about the utility’s energy efficiency programs.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 14,000 employees.
In this news release, and from time to time, Entergy Arkansas, Inc. makes certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, Entergy Arkansas, Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties. There are factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, including (a) those factors discussed in this news release and in: (i) Entergy’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and (ii) Entergy’s other reports and filings made under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; (b) uncertainties associated with rate proceedings, formula rate plans and other cost recovery mechanisms; (c) uncertainties associated with efforts to remediate the effects of major storms and recover related restoration costs; (d) nuclear plant relicensing, operating and regulatory risks, including any changes resulting from the nuclear crisis in Japan following its catastrophic earthquake and tsunami; (e) legislative and regulatory actions and risks and uncertainties associated with claims or litigation by or against Entergy and its subsidiaries; and (f) economic conditions and conditions in commodity and capital markets during the periods covered by the forward-looking statements, in addition to other factors described elsewhere in this release and subsequent securities filings.