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Power Restoration in Extremely Cold Conditions


Entergy uses 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 – for example when winds blow debris onto lines or ice damages electrical equipment – or something else. But in extremely cold conditions, what our customers may notice is that if an outage occurs, regardless of the cause, restoration follows a different process.

  • 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 make the situation worse.
     
  • The reason for the different process involves how much power is being used. During temperature extremes, hot or cold, customers tend to use a lot of electricity, either keeping the heat on or air conditioning or other devices running. Electric heaters in particular will often run continuously and not power off and on, creating too much constant power demand.
     
  • Homes that have both electric heat and air conditioning along with other electrical appliances use more power than a comparable one using just air conditioning (like in the summer). And 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 we try to restore power.
     
  • When an outage occurs, restoring all the customers on a given feeder (power conductor line) has the potential to create large, instantaneous power demands. And that power demand could be higher than the built-in protective devices on a line can handle, meaning equipment could trip offline or cause more damage.
     
  • We have devices in place that are designed to protect our system during times of normal, day-to-day operations and power demand and most weather and other contingencies. But during weather extremes, we must change our processes to make sure we protect our system and also do the right thing by our customers. That means restoring power in a way that best ensures safety and reliability for them as well as our employees.
     
  • During extreme cold weather conditions, these specific restoration challenges are experienced not just by Entergy, but throughout the industry and the country.

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