Entergy Arkansas Prepping for Severe Winter Weather Operations
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Entergy Arkansas is staging crews, equipment and supplies in areas of the state likely to be the hardest hit later this week based on a forecast for bitter cold, sustained winds, sleet, freezing rain, snow and ice accumulations.
Extra weight on power lines caused by snow and ice can cause them to fall or stretch, possibly causing power interruptions. While Entergy Arkansas manages growth of trees and bushes near electrical equipment, one half-inch of ice can increase the weight of a tree limb as much as 30 times, causing even smaller limbs to bend or snap, falling onto power lines and causing an outage.
Additionally, wet and icy roads can make travel hazardous for crews. In the event of power outages, crews will begin assessing damages, then repairing equipment and restoring power as quickly as it is safe to do so.
Customers Should Prepare Now
It’s important to be prepared at your home or business for freezing weather and possible power outages with a basic emergency supply kit, along with a family emergency plan. Act now to winterize your home or business with some simple steps like insulating water pipes, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and ensuring fire extinguishers are ready for use.
Entergy Arkansas Began Prep Months Ago
Arkansas was plunged into sub-freezing temperatures last year at about this same time, causing scattered power outages. Entergy continually reviews its data and processes and identified ways to be more prepared for prolonged freezes.
Each of the company’s power plants had a customized plan 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 also 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 in Several Ways
An important part of weathering a severe storm includes staying informed before, during and after an event. To stay current on our preparations and restoration efforts:
· Download the Entergy app here. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.
· 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.
Safety After the Storm
Restoration in extremely cold conditions may take a little longer, as energizing homes requires a different and methodical process. 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 thereby worsening the situation.
In the event power is lost at your home, customers are advised to turn off breakers to major appliances to prevent a spike in demand when power is restored. Turn them back on one at a time when your home is ready to receive power.
Also, keep refrigerator doors closed but open cabinets that house water pipes. In doing so, food is less likely to spoil, and pipes are less likely to freeze and burst.
If you choose to use a generator, be sure to follow all manufacturer’s guidelines for safe usage.
Stay Away from Downed Lines
Remember, one-half inch of ice can add 500 pounds of weight on power lines, as well as tree limbs which could then fall onto power lines and people. It’s safest to avoid the area near ice-laden power lines and tree limbs; however, if you see downed or low-hanging lines, stay away, and call 1-800-9OUTAGE to report them.
ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.
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