160,000 Entergy Arkansas customers are without power
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A Christmas day winter storm consisting of freezing rain, sleet, snow accumulation and high winds has caused extensive damage to Entergy's electrical infrastructure in Arkansas. As of 3:00 pm today, Entergy Arkansas Inc. was reporting 160,000 customers without electricity.
The company is requesting nearly 4,000 workers to help Entergy Arkansas, Inc. employees restore electricity; however dangerous road conditions and traffic congestion are making it difficult for work crews to begin restoration work in earnest. Additionally, the threat of falling trees and tree limbs is posing a risk to the company's scout teams, who have begun the work of assessing damage to the electric grid.
"Getting the lights back on will be a long and pain-staking process," said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas. "Nature dealt us a one-two punch yesterday with winter precipitation and high winds that severely damaged our electrical grid and left us with dangerous working conditions for our repair crews. We are asking customers for their understanding and patience as we restore power as quickly and safely as possible in a very hazardous work environment."
Based on preliminary scouting assessments, customers in areas with the heaviest damage should expect an extended outage of seven or more days, but it is expected that many will be restored sooner. More specific estimated times of restoration will be provided when damage assessments can be safely completed.
Today and tomorrow will be used primarily to assess damage to the system and stage workers and material, and restore service where it is safe to do so. The pace of restoration will increase tomorrow as assessment continues and the extent of the damage is known.
Entergy reminds customers to stay safe during this period and remember to stay away from downed power lines. Do not trim trees or remove debris on or near downed power lines. Only power company crews or their contractors should remove trees or limbs touching power lines. Additionally, customers are urged to stay a safe distance away from active work zones and restoration workers on the job.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, which is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy Corporation's utilities own and operate power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation's leading nuclear generators. The Entergy utilities deliver electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy Corporation has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.