LITTLE ROCK, Ar. – With freezing rain and dropping temperatures forecasted for the next week, Central Arkansans may see more bucket trucks driving around. They’re part of Entergy’s effort to make sure homeowners aren’t stuck without power during freezing weather.
When it comes to winter storms like this, their primary concern is power lines. Entergy has been focusing on the lines in the warmer days before the freeze, since one tree branch or strong wind could mean a loss of power for hundreds.
As winter weather heads to Arkansas, many are planning on waiting out the storm indoors with the heat cranked up to ‘high’.
But a power outage might put a freeze on that plan, something energy providers are trying to avoid. “We have called in extra crews from outside of our service area,” said Brandi Hinkle with Entergy, who explained that teams are headed in from surrounding states to stand by for when the power is out.
But crews have been preparing for some time, focusing their efforts on protecting powerlines from downed branches that may come from heavy winds. “We have what we call vegetation crews,” Hinkle said, “that go across the state throughout the year to trim back tree lines.” She adds that freezing rain and heavy wind can easily knock over poles, leaving lines strewn across roadways and sidewalks.
The number one rule for customers, Hinkle says, is to call these incidents in but stay away. “We want you to assume that any power lines that come down are electric and that they are live,” she said.
If the power goes out, there are ways to stay safe and warm while crews work on the outage, including making sure homes stay a comfortable temperature without heat.
Hinkle said one way is by “adding insulation to windy doors and windows,” and making sure pipes don’t freeze or burst. Customers are also encouraged to stock up on supplies before the clouds roll in, including items that will last a few days without refrigeration. “Go ahead and have some canned goods and things available that you can eat for a day or two,” said Hinkle.
Entergy asks that Arkansans remain patient during outages, as crews are sent out after bad conditions are over for their safety and the safety of others. With COVID-19 precautions also in place, this could mean a delay in restoration. In the meantime, Entergy customers can check the outage map and see estimated times of restoration on the Entergy app, or by calling 1-800-ENTERGY.
You can also report outages and downed power lines yourself in the same way.