Entergy Monitoring, Preparing for New Winter Storm

Entergy continues preparing for a two-part winter storm system forecasted to affect parts of its territory on Monday evening.
West Monroe -- Entergy continues preparing for a two-part winter storm system forecasted to affect parts of its territory on Monday evening.

In Louisiana, rain is expected across northern Louisiana this evening, transitioning to freezing rain by Tuesday morning.

The second, slower-moving part of the system will arrive late Tuesday, clearing by daybreak Wednesday.

Predictions indicate this system may bring 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch of ice across northern Louisiana. In the hardest hit areas, restoration could take up to four to five days, though we anticipate the majority of customers to be restored much sooner.

In Arkansas, up to two inches of dry, powdery snow are expected in the extreme south. Company personnel are monitoring the forecast and preparing for the expected weather.

They are also planning on sending some mutual assistance crews to aid restoration efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi.

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 cause isolated outages by breaking the weakest limbs that are overhanging services and lines.
At 1/4 inch of freezing rain accumulation, more limbs and lines become coated, causing similar, but somewhat more widespread outages to the distribution system. Younger evergreen trees will start to become so heavy that they may lean into the distribution lines, causing more outages.
A 1/2 inch accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.

Power Restoration in Extremely Cold Conditions

In extremely cold conditions, customers may notice that if an outage occurs, regardless of the cause (wind, ice, etc.), restoration follows a slightly different 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 further outages and more damage to the electrical system.

When temperatures are extreme, customers use more electricity, keeping the heat on in the winter or air conditioning running in the summer. (Electric heaters in particular will often run continuously, creating a constant power demand.) This creates a high rate of demand for all power on the electrical system.

When power is disrupted during winter, many customers leave their heating systems and appliances turned on, creating a large volume of energy demand, all at once, when power is restored.

Restoring all the customers on a given line has the potential to create a large, instantaneous power demand. That demand could be higher than the built-in protective devices on a line can handle, meaning equipment could trip offline or sustain more damage.

We have devices in place that protect our system during times of normal, day-to-day operations, power demand and most weather contingencies. But during weather extremes, we must change our processes to both protect our system and do the right thing by our customers. That means restoring power in a way that best ensures safety and reliability for all.

You can help by turning off your electric heating systems, lights and appliances during an outage. Once power has been restored, turn them back on one at a time, over a period of time. This will help avoid a sudden power surge.

During extreme cold weather conditions, these specific restoration challenges are experienced not just by Entergy, but throughout the industry and the country.

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