Entergy has started periodic power outages for its customers in Texas. 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 a more extensive, prolonged power outage that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid.
The unusual circumstance is the result of extensive damage to Entergy’s transmission system caused by Hurricane Laura in East Texas and West Louisiana and the anticipated high demand for electricity due to high temperatures.
MISO is directing actions to be taken to restore the system to normal operations as quickly as possible and will direct Entergy to stop the periodic outages as soon as the power shortfall no longer threatens the integrity of the rest of the electrical power system.
Entergy is also asking customers in its western area north of Houston to voluntarily reduce their usage of electricity, as directed by MISO.
Hurricane Laura damaged key transmission lines, conductors, wooden and steel transmission towers that could bring electrical power from the east.
Entergy has performed preliminary assessments to its transmission system and is working to restore the key lines that will alleviate the situation.
Some ways customers can reduce their electricity usage include:
- Raise the central air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees. Window units should be adjusted accordingly.
- Use energy efficient electric ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate air and help occupants feel cooler.
- Close window blinds, drapes and curtains to reduce warming in the home from direct sunlight.
- Check the air conditioner filter to be sure it is clean.
- Delay laundering clothes, washing dishes, bathing, etc. until later in the evening or early morning. These activities produce moisture and increase humidity in the house, making the air conditioner work harder.
- Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowest possible setting, and resist the temptation to open the oven door while baking.
- Do not allow cooled air to escape from the home. Check caulking around doors and windows. Close the fireplace damper. Fill holes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.
- Make sure your clothes dryer and attic are vented properly.
MISO comprises a pool of electricity generators and users that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and as reliability coordinator is responsible for monitoring the portion of the electric grid it oversees and providing instructions to its members regarding actions needed to maintain reliability in that portion of the grid. In extreme and unusual circumstances, such actions may include periodic outages of the type occurring today.