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Entergy abruptly cuts power to South Louisiana Tuesday night

9 months 1 week 4 days ago Wednesday, February 17 2021 Feb 17, 2021 February 17, 2021 4:40 AM February 17, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Entergy pulled the plug on electricity to customers across its four-state service area late Tuesday in what the company said was a "forced" decision because of demand.

Thousands of customers experienced a sudden power failure around 7 p.m.  The power company said it had ended rolling blackouts as of nine Tuesday night. 

"Mandatory rolling outages that began at 7 p.m. have ended for now, and we have returned the system to normal operations. All customers affected by this directive were restored by 9 p.m.," the company said in a statement.

Entergy issued a series of statements throughout the evening and attempted to push blame for the sudden outages Tuesday.  

"The company is taking this action as directed by our reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, as a last resort and in order to prevent more extensive, prolonged power outages that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid," Entergy quietly said in a news release posted on its website Tuesday.

Customers may be impacted in Louisiana and from Arkansas to Texas to the Gulf South.

"Due to extremely cold temperatures over the last several days, the demand for electricity has reached an all-time high. Additionally, these weather conditions have forced off generation resources across the system.  The implementation of this load shed across the Entergy region will help ensure an adequate reserve margin, which helps ensure Entergy is better positioned to manage through additional extreme weather this week," the company said in a prepared statement.  

A spokesperson in New Orleans reached by phone late Tuesday refused to make a representative available for a TV interview.

In a statement, Entergy said: “Broadening the geographic area in which outages will occur, allows us to better manage the way in which we shed load.”  Earlier in the evening, it has announced plans for outages in southwestern Louisiana only. 

Willie Wilson, vice president in operations and system storm incident commander for the company, added: “We know this is an inconvenience and we apologize. The loss of generation in the entire region, combined with a high level of demand for electricity has caused a strain on the system.”

The power outages occurred Tuesday night as temperatures dropped for another day below freezing.

David Freese, an Entergy Louisiana representative, told WBRZ earlier Tuesday, the company expected to have everyone's power restored by Wednesday. Livingston and Tangipahoa Parish, however, may see power restored by Tuesday evening.

Freese did not answer calls late Tuesday about rolling blackouts. 

The company said it has about 2,300 workers trying to restore power statewide.

In the meantime, locals are asked to use electricity sparingly.

"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," the company said.

Late Tuesday night, Gov. John Bel Edwards released a statement about the outages:

“This evening, I spoke with Entergy Louisiana’s CEO as the company, and others across our state and region, began rolling outages at the direction of their reliability coordinator, MISO. They assured me this was done as a last resort, in order to prevent more extensive, prolonged power outages in Louisiana that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid. Further, these rolling outages will be done only when necessary, and the aim will always be to minimize the impact to any individual customer or household.

“This is happening tonight across multiple states in the South. Because of extremely cold temperatures over the last several days, the demand for electricity has reached an all-time high. This afternoon I spoke with President Biden about our ongoing challenges in Louisiana because of this severe weather, including my concerns about Louisianans facing power outages in such cold temperatures. We are not the only state where extreme winter weather has taxed electrical and generation systems, and it is our hope that this issue will be resolved quickly and with minimal impact to our people.”

Cleco also announced similar outages between 7-9 Tuesday night. 

Entergy's tips for reducing power consumption include the following.

-Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees and adjust window units accordingly.

-Use energy-efficient ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate air to help with your comfort.

-Open blinds, drapes and curtains to let in warmth from the sun.

-Delay laundry, washing dishes, bathing and other non-essential uses of electricity until this appeal for conservation has ended.

-Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowest possible setting and refrain from opening the oven door while baking.

-Don’t allow warmed air to escape from the home.

Click here for additional outage information from Entergy. 

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