Severe winds and thunderstorms Easter Sunday caused 126,000 outages across the Entergy Arkansas service territory, with damage that could take multiple days to repair. The number of outages was down to 117,600 by mid-morning Monday, with priority given to hospitals, water treatment plants, police and fire stations and communication systems. The damage is widespread and significant, with substations and transmission lines out of service due to the storms.
“This was a storm of historic proportions. We’ve not seen damage this extensive since the back-to-back ice storms in December of 2000,” said Laura Landreaux, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. “We fully understand the hardship that being without electricity will be for our customers who lost power, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a well-practiced plan for recovering from events like this. Execution of that plan began several days ago as we monitored the threatening weather forecasts and began positioning resources to respond after the storm passed.”
Entergy Arkansas has requested 1,100 additional workers, including lineman, contractors, logistics, damage assessors and administrative assistance.
Customers should not approach utility workers, especially during the public health emergency caused by COVID-19. Interruptions will slow workers’ progress under normal conditions, but the health and safety of both Entergy Arkansas employees and customers can be put in jeopardy with close contact.
Landreaux said, “It’s too early to say how long it will take to rebuild what has been destroyed, but please be assured that we will communicate what we know when we know it and we will dedicate all the resources at our disposal to getting everyone’s power back on as quickly as is safely possible. The safety of our customers and our workers is always our top priority.
“This storm recovery will be especially challenging because our workers are practicing social distancing to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. The necessary variations to our normal processes may cause restoration to take longer than it would without the complications caused by the pandemic,” she added. “With that in mind, please do not approach our workers in the field. This is dangerous for them and customers both. Thank you for your support. We will get through this together.”
For customers who lose power, there are several things they should do to ensure their structures are ready to be re-connected to the grid.
- Check outside and around structures for damage to electrical equipment.
- If the meter or any of the conduit and wires on the outside wall are missing or look damaged, call an electrician to make repairs.
- Entergy Storm Center has information on how to spot damages.
As we complete our assessment and restoration, we will keep our communities informed using the following channels:
· Download our app for your smartphone at http://entergy.com/app.
· Sign up for text alerts. From your cellphone, text R-E-G to 368374.
· Visit the Entergy Storm Center website and our View Outages page.
· Follow us on Twitter.com/entergyark or Facebook.com/entergyark.
· Call us at 800-9OUTAGE (800-968-8243).
· Follow updates in your local news media, including radio, television and newspapers.