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Lack of notice with Entergy rolling blackouts

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BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday defended Entergy's rolling blackouts and asked that Louisianans conserve electricity until Saturday to reduce the need for further strategic outages.

"What [Entergy] did, they didn't have a choice, they had to do it," Edwards said during his weekly news conference. "It was the right thing to do under the circumstances."

Edwards said he was on the phone with Entergy officials minutes after portions of Baton Rouge unexpectedly descended into darkness Tuesday. He said he made it clear that residents needed a heads-up before such outages.

On Thursday, Edwards said the company got little notice before it was ordered to begin shedding power.

"The biggest issue with [Tuesday's rolling blackouts] was the fact that there just wasn't advance notification," Edwards said. "I want electric companies, whether it's Cleco, or Entergy, or SWEPCO, whoever it might be, to provide as much communication, in advance of these events happening, as possible."

With frigid temperatures on Wednesday led to more demand and strain on the power grid, Entergy apparently took Edwards' position to heart, notifying customers by text and voicemail of the potential for outages.

By Thursday afternoon, Edwards said, the overall communication effort had improved.

"I think whether you're talking about power restoration or whether you're talking about these rolling blackouts, communication is very important, and that was lacking initially," Edwards said. "I think, yesterday and today it has gotten much, much better."

As more and more residents see their power restored, Edwards warned that the temporary interruptions of service could again become necessary over the next few days.

"I think people can accept better the fact that they're going to lose their lights if they have some advance notification about that, and they know that's it's only going to that for two or three hours, or whatever," Edwards said.

Officials are urging residents to reduce power use from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m daily through Saturday morning.

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