Insights > Entergy system winter storm preparations
Entergy system winter storm preparations
Our workforce is ready to respond to outages due to a winter storm predicted to affect parts of our service area in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Customers should prepare as well.
The impact of ice storms is very difficult to predict, but forecasts indicate the approaching weather system could be significant. We expect to see heavy rain in portions of our service area, as well.
Predicting outages caused by winter storms is challenging. Areas of freezing temperatures and precipitation can vary widely with just a few degrees difference between what’s predicted and what actually happens.
In addition to our internal workforce, we are acquiring offsite resources to help restore power. We will have a combined workforce of approximately 3,000.
- We will bring in resources in advance of bad weather to avoid travel risk as much as possible. We continue refining the number of additional resources based on the latest weather forecasts.
- Our internal crews and damage assessment teams are staged close to their home locations to respond quickly when conditions are safe. If their local networks are not affected, they will be re-assigned to those that need help.
We model anticipated damage and are working through our checklists, have opened local command centers, are stocking up on needed materials, readying our trucks for driving on snow and ice, organizing the manpower, and arranging for food and lodging for the crews.
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 begin to cause outages by breaking limbs hanging over power lines.
- At 1/4 inch of freezing rain accumulation, the problem becomes worse. Younger evergreen trees will start to become so heavy that they may lean onto distribution lines, causing more outages.
- A 1/2" accumulation on power lines can add 500 pounds of extra weight.
Cold Weather Restoration
We use a methodical and calculated process in bringing customers back online after an outage in very 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, we must bring customers back online one section at a time to avoid damage to our system and making the situation worse.
- During cold temperature extremes, customers tend to use a lot of electricity to keep heating or other devices running. Electric heaters often will run continuously, creating a constant power demand.
- 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.
- We have devices that protect our system during times of normal, day-to-day operations and power demand. During weather extremes, we must change our processes to protect our system and restore power in a way that best ensures safety and reliability for our 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.
- During extreme cold weather conditions, these specific restoration challenges are experienced not just by Entergy, but throughout the industry and the country.
- 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.
Our preparations include ensuring the safety of our workers.
- Workers will begin restoration work when it is safe to do so.
- In some cases, we can restore service by re-setting breakers on the power lines and re-routing power around damaged facilities. We do this first, then move on to repairing what is broken.
- As we learn more about the damage, we develop a restoration plan to restore the greatest number customers safely in the shortest amount of time.
We are all keenly aware of the damage major winter storms have caused in recent years. We’ve learned from them and we’re ready for additional winter storms.
- Ice accumulating on trees and power lines can result in power outages.
- We have a plan of continuous preparation, training and action that we call Operation: Storm Ready.
- We’ve improved our operations based on more than 100 years of experience in previous storm responses, as well as annual storm drills.
- A first step of our action plan is to bring in extra personnel and make arrangements for their food, lodging, etc.
Customers should be prepared, as well:
- Charge mobile devices and back-up batteries.
- Download the Entergy app to and sign up for text updates.
- Review guidance at here.
- If you have medical equipment that requires electricity to properly function, take steps to secure an alternative source of electricity or make plans to move to an alternate location in the event of a power disruption.
- Have an emergency kit including flashlights, medicine, first aid, water and food.
Here is what our customers can expect from us in responding to this storm:
- We will assemble and organize the workforce we need to restore service safely and quickly to all customers.
- We will keep you informed about our restoration progress using the channels listed below.
- After the storm, it could take up to three days to complete damage assessment before we will know how long it will take to restore everyone’s power.
- While we are assessing damage, we will begin restoring service where it is safe to do so.
Facing a winter storm is very challenging. As you prepare, keep in mind that it could take several days after the storm is over before we restore power to most of our customers.
- We use weather forecasts and computer models based on knowledge from past storms to predict an estimated number of customers without power and the number of days needed to restore power.
- We can restore power faster in areas with less damage. Harder-hit areas take longer.
- We will know more after the storm passes and we are able to fully assess damages.
If you lose power:
- Stay away from downed power lines. You can’t tell from looking at them whether they are energized or not, so assume they are. Report them to 1-800-9OUTAGE.
- Report your power outage online or call 1-800-9OUTAGE. If you report your outage by phone, trust the automated system. It works very well. There is no need to speak with a customer service representative to report an outage.
- If you have a portable generator, use it safely. DO NOT run it in an enclosed space. If connecting to the whole house, do so only if the connection has been installed by a licensed electrician.
- Do not open your refrigerator or freezer door. Food will stay cold much longer this way. If outside temperature is below freezing, consider placing food in an ice chest outside.
- Stay clear of linemen as they work.
Entergy Began Prep Months Ago
Entergy continually reviews its data and processes and has identified ways to be more prepared for prolonged freezes.
Our power plants have customized plans 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 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.
To stay up to date on outages and restoration:
- Download the Entergy app for Apple or Android operating systems at Entergy.com/app.
- Register for address-specific alerts by texting REG to 36778. Customers will need an account number and ZIP code. Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest
- Visit “View Outages.”
- Follow Entergy at Twitter.com/Entergy or Facebook.com/Entergy.
- Follow updates in local news media, including radio, television and newspapers.
- For tips on battling winter’s chill, while still keeping a lid on energy bills, visit our Operation: Storm Ready Guide.
As we face the possibility of winter storms, we want to be sure you are prepared.
- Above all, stay safe. A personal plan for you and your family is the best way to stay safe and be storm ready.
- Visit the Entergy Storm Center website for planning tools that can help guide you through the decisions you need to make.
- As we focus resources on storm restoration, routine tasks, such as installation of new service, are likely to be delayed.
Here are some other ways you can prepare for the storms:
Decide to stay or go well before a storm strikes. If you choose to stay, you should be prepared to be without power several days.
A kit of basic emergency supplies and a first aid kit are smart ways you can prepare for severe weather.
A little advance preparation before a storm hits is helpful in surviving a power outage. Consider keeping on hand:
- A battery-powered radio to keep informed of the status of the outage.
- A battery-powered lantern to illuminate larger spaces.
- Battery-operated cellphone chargers.
- Matches and candles.
- Canned foods and bottled water.
- Camping gear, such as portable lanterns, cook stoves and warm sleeping bags.
- Extra batteries in a variety of cell sizes for extended power outages, along with batteries for critical-care devices.
We will keep our workers safe during the storm response.
- As the storm approaches, keeping our workers safe from worsening weather conditions could limit our ability to restore service.
- As the storm approaches, we will continue working to restore power. But we will keep our employees safe and sheltered should the storms present any danger to them.
You should stay safe as well. Several online resources are available to help you stay safe during severe winter weather.
- Hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature) and frostbite are both dangerous conditions that can happen when a person is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. More information on recognizing and preventing these conditions is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Protect yourself and your loved ones during a winter storm, especially safely heating and lighting your home, operating a generator safely, and ensuring the warmth of babies and older adults.
- Protect your home and car during a winter storm.
- How to survive a power outage in winter – Information from AccuWeather.com on how to stay warm and reduce risk.
- Information from ready.gov – Dangers of winter weather, what to do if under a winter storm warning and how to stay safe when a winter storm threatens.