Responding to yet another natural disaster - this time it's Hurricane Rita - an Entergy Arkansas storm team will leave Friday headed to the Texas Gulf Coast.
The latest team of 140 workers will depart from various service centers around the state for staging areas in Marshall and Longview, Tex.
"Until the hurricane makes landfall, we don't know exactly where our crews will be working," said Entergy Arkansas Director of Operations Greg Grillo. "We'll be prepared to work anywhere along the Texas Gulf Coast."
For the past three weeks, a large number of Entergy Arkansas workers have been working in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi restoring power to some 1.1 million customers who lost power when Hurricane Katrina battered Entergy's service territory. Entergy has restored power to 877,000 customers since Katrina struck on August 29.
Resources from around the country are helping Entergy restore service. Entergy has close to 5000 line and vegetation workers, plus support, continuing to work in southeast Louisiana.
At this time, most forecasts predict that Rita will make landfall Saturday near Galveston, Texas.
The Entergy Texas service area starts at the southeast Texas/Louisiana border and stretches up into the piney woods of east Texas, down to the Gulf of Mexico and across to the lake country north of Houston. Entergy Texas serves 373,000 customers.
Currently, more than 130 Entergy Arkansas workers are helping restore power in the heavily-damaged areas near New Orleans.
"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," said Grillo.
"As a result, Arkansas customers will probably experience longer response times to outages and delays in construction projects. I assure you, we will do our best to respond to our customers' needs," Grillo continued "Entergy appreciates your patience and understanding as we work to meet both the critical needs of our neighbors and the everyday needs of our customers here in Arkansas."
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to more than 650,000 customers in 63 counties.