As Entergy Arkansas linemen and support personnel catch their breath after several days of intense power restoration in Arkansas, many are preparing to travel to Texas to lend help to the massive Hurricane Rita power restoration effort.
Last Saturday night and Sunday morning, winds from Rita ravaged structures, trees and much of the electrical distribution system in central and south Arkansas. Electrical outages affected more than 62,000 Entergy Arkansas by mid-day Sunday. Entergy workers were able to restore power to nearly half of those customers in a matter of hours, and to the remaining customers by Tuesday night. Overall, Rita also knocked out power to more than nearly 766,000 customers in the Entergy service territory, which includes Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
On Sunday, Oct. 2, 48 Entergy Arkansas linemen and supervisors will depart from various service centers in Arkansas and travel to southeastern Texas to assist with power restoration. Already, we have 129 lineman and supporting personnel in Louisiana and 115 in Texas. In addition, we sent 26 of our distribution line contractors to Louisiana to assist in storm restoration. "We have about half of our crews committed to power restoration in Texas and Louisiana," said Greg Grillo, Entergy Arkansas director of Distribution operations. "We're leaving the other half of our resources home in order to handle service needs in Arkansas. Entergy's plan includes building a workforce of 4500 restoration line workers in Louisiana and 1500 in Mississippi, plus additional support, to manage the restoration. "Although we will retain crews in Arkansas sufficient to handle emergencies, we will have fewer crews in our area to handle normal work as Entergy responds to the call for help from our neighbors," Grillo said. "We will do our best to respond to our customers needs - especially emergency situations - but it's likely that routine work will see some delays while so many of our employees are helping out with hurricane restoration."
Entergy continues building its workforce, and has 12,500 linemen and vegetation workers, plus approximately 3000 support personnel, committed to restore service following Hurricane Rita. Some 180 Entergy Arkansas employees left Daytona Beach Tuesday to begin the journey to aid in restoration efforts in Louisiana or Mississippi. The Arkansas team is expected to spend Tuesday night