The Entergy Arkansas storm team is finalizing its storm preparations to respond to any impacts across Arkansas from Hurricane Laura, predicted to strike near the Texas/Louisiana border late tonight or early tomorrow as a destructive Category 4 hurricane. Forecasts indicate Laura will impact southern Arkansas Thursday beginning as early as noon and pushing further north and east into the state throughout the day, possibly causing power outages from tropical storm-force winds, tornadoes, thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding, which could lead to days-long outages.
“We are using these final hours ahead of the storm to patrol our system for service risks and ensure we have the necessary resources, equipment, and workforce to restore power as safely and quickly as possible. We understand the hardships an extended power outage can cause for our customers, especially during the heat of an Arkansas summer with so many working from home and remote learning for children,” said Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux. “We understand, and we are making sure we are well prepared to respond. Our team will be hard at work to repair storm damage and bring customers the best information we have as quickly as possible.”
The company is working to amass a workforce of nearly 1,200 restoration workers to respond to possible impacts. Entergy Arkansas has reciprocal agreements with other utilities through which they help one another out after major weather events. Workers will be staged in strategic locations to respond to outages after the storm has passed. Crews will focus on restoring emergency services first, then will prioritize work according to which repairs will restore power to the greatest number of customers.
“While the hardest-hit locations are likely to be in the southern part of Arkansas, crews will be ready to respond across the state as necessary as soon as it is safe to do so,” Landreaux said.
Staging sites will likely be set up in El Dorado, Magnolia and Warren to provide materials and supplies to restoration workers. In addition, workers are planning logistics such as food and lodging for traveling workers. Vegetation crews will be scouting key circuits for threats from wind-blown trees.
Additional safety precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could affect the time it takes to assess damage and restore power.
Entergy Arkansas employees are navigating through the pandemic by taking precautions including traveling separately when possible, wearing masks when necessary and generally following CDC guidelines, all of which can add to the time required to complete work. The Company requests that customers keep their distance from workers in the field, for both safety and health reasons.
Customers can stay informed throughout the Entergy response through these resources:
- Download the Entergy App at entergyapp.com. Customers can use the app to report outages or check on the status of power at their home or business.
- Entergy’s View Outages website includes maps that show where outages are located and give information about restoration progress.
- Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.
- The Entergy Storm Center website has storm safety, preparation and restoration information that is updated throughout the day.
- Operation: Storm Ready Guide is a free downloadable guide that helps customers plan.
- Social media also plays an important role in keeping customers informed, and the company places a high priority on updating its social media channels throughout an event. Customers can follow Entergy Arkansas on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 700,000 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 owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $11 billion and approximately 13,600 employees.