CAMDEN Camden News Staff
Hurricane Laura brought a path of destruction into South Arkansas, but Entergy and Ouachita Electric have both announced the majority of customers are receiving power again.
According to Entergy 3,198 customers were without power in Ouachita County.
The company also stated in a press release Monday, “Customers with property damage may require special action to speed their restoration:
“If your property has any water damage, please turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
“Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. A licensed electrician may need to inspect your property’s electric wiring before Entergy can restore power to a home or business which has water damage from rain or flood waters.”
For customers without property damage:
• Property owners without hurricane damage should be cautious.
• Look for electrical system damage once power is restored. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or the smell of hot insulation is noticeable, turn off the electricity at either the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
• Call a licensed electrician for advice when necessary. Don’t step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker.
• Entergy cannot restore power to a location with a damaged meter base, conduit or weather head (the metal pipe extending upward from the structure with electrical cables inside). They must be repaired by a qualified electrician before Entergy can restore power.
• Due to the volume of outages and post-storm assessment status, the red/green lines on our outage maps may show discrepancies. When this happens, we switch to an “area view” and provide detailed restoration updates in the alert banner at the top of the map, updated twice daily.
“Here’s how we approach things at this stage to restore your power safely and quickly when conditions are safe:
“Repairs begin with major lines to the substations, then to the lines and equipment serving neighborhoods, businesses and homes.
“Service lines to individual homes and businesses will be restored last because fewer customers are involved, and in the case of fewer outages spread over larger areas, it often takes more time to get power back on for them.
“Significant flooding and other accessibility challenges due to the storm will affect our ability to reach some areas of our territory and could delay restoration in those communities.
“When restoration starts, keep in mind that if you don’t see us working near you, we may be working on another part of the electrical system that you can’t see but must be repaired to get power to you.
“Responding to a major storm and COVID-19 could affect our response:
“Along with standard storm preparations, Entergy employees are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional steps. These include traveling separately when possible, adjusting crew staging locations and increasing the use of drones.
“Due to the additional measures crews must take, restoration may take longer, especially where there are widespread outages. Additionally, crews will continue to practice social distancing and we ask that customers do the same. For their safety and yours, please stay away from work zones.
“We know you want information about your outage. Given the intensity of this storm and the additional need for our crews to follow COVID-19 precautionary measures, hardest hit areas may experience outages for weeks. In addition, restoration may be hampered by flooding, blocked access or other obstacles.
“In addition to disruption of normal business operations, customers may experience delays when calling our telephone centers, especially from unaffected areas, due to overloading of the system with outage calls. We encourage customers to use these other means to interact with us during restoration:
“Download our free app for your smartphone at entergy.com/app.
“Sign up for text alerts by texting REG to 36778 and have your account number and ZIP code handy. The registration pattern is as follows including spaces: REG (account number) (ZIP code). Once registered, text OUT to 36778 to report an outage. You can also report an outage online as a guest.
“Visit the Entergy Storm Center website and our View Outages.
“Follow us on Twitter.com/entergy or Facebook.com/entergy.
“Call us at 800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
“Follow updates in your local news media, like radio, television and newspapers.
“Once these storms pass, we can fully assess the damage and will have more information to share.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing an increase in attempts to scam our customers following Hurricane Laura.
“Entergy never demands immediate payment from customers over the phone. You shouldn’t give your personal information to strangers.
“If a call sounds suspicious, hang-up and call 1-800-ENTERGY (1-800-368-3749) to speak directly with an Entergy customer service representative. If you believe you are a victim of this scam, notify the proper authorities, such as the local police or the state attorney general’s office.
“You should stay safe as we restore service outages caused by Hurricane Laura.
“There is no way to know if a downed line is energized or not, so if you see one, keep your distance and call 1-800-9OUTAGE (1-800-968-8243).
“Stay safe and away from downed power lines and flooded areas. Do not walk in standing water and do not venture into areas of debris, since energized and dangerous power lines may not be visible.
“Customers choosing to use portable electric generators should do so in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Customers must never connect a generator directly to a building’s wiring without a licensed electrician disconnecting the house wiring from Entergy’s service. Otherwise, it can create a safety hazard for the customer or our linemen working to restore power. And it may damage the generator or the house wiring.
“Restoration workers who discover a generator attached directly to Entergy’s system will work with the customer to disconnect the generator. As a last resort, the restoration worker will disconnect the customer’s service connection to Entergy, which may take an extended time to reconnect due to the extensive restoration effort underway.’