Mid-South power companies ask customers to conserve electricity or face periodic outages

Cold front
Cold front(Mary Klingler (custom credit) | Mary Klingler)
Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:12 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The major winter storm that hit the Mid-South is now putting a strain on the region’s power companies.

Entergy in Arkansas and Mississippi is asking customers to conserve electricity to prevent service disruptions. Current load forecasts are approaching an all-time peak, even greater than the polar vortex of January 2019, according to Entergy Mississippi.

The company’s reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, asked Entergy and other utilities in its footprint, to appeal to customers to reduce their energy usage between 5 and 9 p.m.

If the power supply cannot meet the demand, then periodic outages would be needed to prevent an extensive power outage that could last an extended period.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this request may cause,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “The extreme temperatures over consecutive days are driving up electricity usage. This is an unusual situation driven by extreme weather conditions that much of the country is experiencing. We are working to respond and bring the electric system back to a normal operational state as soon as possible.”

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator comprises a pool of electricity generators and users that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes all or parts of 15 states and one Canadian province.

West Memphis Utilities also asked customers to conserve power until Tuesday by avoiding running appliances, turning off unnecessary lights and lowering thermostats for people with electric heat.

Some immediate ways to reduce electricity usage include:

  • Lower the central thermostat to 68 degrees and adjust window units accordingly.
  • Use energy-efficient ceiling fans and portable fans to circulate the warm 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.

As for MLGW customers, the company says they have not been contacted by Tennessee Valley Authority about reliability issues. MLGW is not asking for customers to conserve electricity and they are not planning rolling brown outs, according to a statement from the utility.

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