LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Another round of wintry precipitation is predicted for parts of Arkansas on Wednesday night. This comes as Entergy Arkansas has been monitoring and responding to well-below normal winter temperatures that have created extreme cold conditions for customers and heavy load levels for utilities across the state. The deepfreeze conditions plaguing Arkansas have brought additional power outages over the last couple of days. But whether an outage is caused directly by the temperatures or something else, restoration becomes more complex because of the different way customers are restored once any needed repairs are made.
“We use a methodical and calculated process in bringing customers back online after an outage in very cold weather like we’re having,” explained Brady Aldy, vice president of customer service for Entergy Arkansas, Inc. “While we have had some outages that were specifically weather-related, what our customers may notice is that if an outage occurs, regardless of the cause, restoration follows a different process.
“Rather than simply energizing an entire power line all at once, we are forced to bring customers back online one section at a time to avoid damage to our system and make the situation worse.”
The reason for the different process involves how much power—or load—is being used. During temperature extremes, hot or cold, customers tend to use a lot of electricity, either keeping the heat on or air conditions running.
When an outage occurs, restoring all the customers on a given feeder has the potential to create large instantaneous load. And that load could be higher than the built-in protective devices on a line can handle, meaning equipment could trip offline or cause more damage.
“We have devices in place that are designed to protect our system during normal load,” Aldy said. “But during weather extremes, we must change our processes to make sure we protect our system and also do the right thing by our customers. That means restoring power in a way that best ensures reliability for them.”
Aldy reminds customers that a fresh round of wintry conditions is expected Wednesday evening that may include freezing rain and sleet. Customers are encouraged to download Entergy’s free smartphone app at
entergy.com/app. They can also sign up for text alerts, find pre-storm tips and check their location on the View Outages map at Entergy Storm Center.
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 Corporation’s utilities own and operate 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. The Entergy utilities deliver electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy Corporation has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.