As Winter Storm Landon rapidly closes in on the state, Entergy Arkansas encourages customers to prepare for outages related to freezing rain and ice accumulation likely to affect the service area.
Roughly 3,000 personnel — including transmission and distribution line workers, drone and helicopter operators and scouts, vegetation crews, emergency operations, safety and logistics managers — are placed at strategic locations across the state and ready to begin assessments, repairs and restorations as soon as it’s safe to do so, according to a news release.
“Predicting outages due to winter storms can be challenging, but we know ice brings about a different set of challenges for our crews working to restore power,” said Ventrell Thompson, acting vice president of Entergy Arkansas Customer Service. “It can make treacherous roads and walkways, impact access to our transmission and distribution lines, and generally cause greater damage to the power system as ice accumulates.
“This makes restoration more difficult and time-consuming, so we ask for your patience. In the more heavily impacted areas, customers may experience service interruptions for days, but please know that Entergy Arkansas is working to keep the power on and restore outages as safely and as quickly as possible.”
Freezing rain and ice is particularly harmful to electrical lines and tree limbs, with various effects based on the amount that accumulates.
One-eighth inch of freezing rain coating tree limbs and lines can begin to cause outages by breaking limbs hanging over power lines.
At one-quarter inch of freezing rain accumulation, the problem becomes worse. Younger evergreen trees will start to become heavy and lean into the distribution lines, causing more outages.
A half-inch accumulation of ice can add 500 pounds to power lines or tree limbs, which can snap the lines and cause them to fall onto people and property.
Entergy Arkansas uses a methodical and calculated process in getting customers back online after an outage in 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, customers are brought back online one section at a time to avoid damage to the power providers’ systems and make the situation worse. This is standard practice for electric providers.
• 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.
• The company has devices that protect the system during times of normal, day-to-day operations and power demand. During weather extremes, the company must change its processes to protect the system and restore power in a way that best ensures safety and reliability for 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.
• 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.
An important part of weathering a severe storm includes staying informed before, during and after an event. To stay current on the company’s preparations and restoration efforts:
• Download the Entergy app. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their homes or businesses.
• Sign up for text messages about storm and restoration efforts by texting REG to 36778.
• Follow Entergy Arkansas on social media, as it plays an important role in keeping customers informed. Search for @EntergyArk on Facebook and Twitter.
• The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.
Stay Away from Downed Lines
Customers are encouraged to stay away from downed lines. If you see downed or low-hanging lines, call 1-800-9OUTAGE to report them.