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Entergy: It’s cold… turn down the heat


Customers asked to reduce use to avoid rolling blackouts, conserve power as temperatures plunge It might sound like an odd recommendation, but Entergy Arkansas is asking everyone to turn down their thermostats even as daytime highs have struggled to get into double digits.

But there’s a method to their madness. On Monday, Entergy asked customers to voluntarily conserve energy consumption as much as possible to help them meet the increased demands and avoid blackouts.

This unusual request is due to the demand of electricity potentially exceeding the available generation due to extreme cold weather conditions. The request went out Monday morning via email, social media, blast texts and other communiqué.

While the request was not for any mandatory curtailments, it was a precautionary action to help accommodate the reliability of providing power for all customers throughout Arkansas during the prolonged spell of unusually cold temperatures.

Entergy did begin instituting some rolling blackouts, usually 30 minutes in duration, which affected some customers in Earle and in the county, the company issued a statement indicating those would end at 9 p.m. Monday night, once peak usage hours had ended.

Arkansas customers were far from the only ones impacted by the power crunch as much of the nation was gripped in a wave of frigid temperatures “As is the case with a large

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segment of the U.S., we are in a precarious situation. The severe cold has resulted in extremely high demand for power. To protect the grid, we’re asking customers to aggressively conserve electricity. Thank you for helping,” Entergy Arkansas said in a statement.

Entergy said utility crews had taken proactive steps to mitigate the impact of the extreme weather to its system, and they were working to respond and bring the electric system back to a normal operational state as soon as possible.

As the bitter cold continues this week, Entergy issued a list of recommendations to keep warm while conserving energy. Some immediate ways to reduce electricity usage include:

• Turn down electric thermostats to 65 degrees.

• Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.

• Turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances.

• Delay laundry, washing dishes, bathing and other non-essential uses of electricity.

• Minimize use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.

Additionally, CenterPoint Energy, the primary natural gas supplier to the state and region, has asked Arkansas homeowners and businesses to use care when clearing snow or ice near natural gas meters and to check that outside vents for gas appliances aren’t blocked by snow or ice.

“As Arkansas deals with severe winter weather, CenterPoint Energy is asking its residential and business customers to keep ENTERGY (cont.)

their outdoor natural gas meters clear of snow and ice in order to prevent a leak or service interruption,” a statement from CenterPoint issued on Monday read.

Customers should also make sure any outside vents and air intakes for gas appliances are not blocked by snow or ice, because a blockage can cause a potentially fatal indoor build-up of carbon monoxide. Pay particular attention to side-wall vents and air intakes for furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers that could be partially or fully blocked.

CenterPoint Energy offered these tips to protect natural gas meters in the winter weather and ensure safe, reliable service:

• Don’t pile snow on or near your natural gas meter. Maintain a clear path to your meter to allow access in an emergency.

• Use care when clearing snow on and around the meter. Carefully shovel around the meter and move snow away from it. Use a broom or brush to gently clear snow or ice from the top of the meter and piping.

• Never kick or hit your gas meter or its piping with a shovel, hammer or any hard object to break away built-up snow or ice.

• Remove large icicles hanging over a meter, pipe or appliance vents.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, leave the area immediately on foot and tell others to do the same. When safely away, report the leak by calling 911 and the CenterPoint Energy’s Arkansas emergency hotline at 800-992-7552.

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