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Entergy customers asked to cut usage

NEW ORLEANS — As a precaution, Entergy asked customersthroughout its four-state service area to voluntarily reduce theirusage of electricity beginning Thursday and to continue thisvoluntary conservation until the current pattern of record hightemperatures abates.

Entergy — which serves 2.5 million customers in Louisiana,Mississippi, Arkansas and eastern Texas — said the extreme heatthis week has created a record demand for electricity throughoutits service region.

The company emphasized that it believes it has adequate suppliesof electricity to meet the heightened demand and said it iscontinuing to purchase additional reserves wherever possible.

The request for voluntary conservation is simply a prudentprecaution that should provide additional insurance against anyproblems should the record high temperatures persist, Entergyofficials said.

Temperatures soared to record levels in many Midwestern andSouthern cities Wednesday, including readings of 109 degrees inLittle Rock, Ark., 107 degrees in Jackson, Miss., and 107 degreesin Beaumont, Texas. Temperatures throughout Entergy’s four-stateservice area averaged 103 degrees Wednesday.

If required, Entergy said it will curtail supplying certainindustrial and wholesale customers pursuant to special agreementsthat allow for such curtailments. That has not yet been necessary,the company stressed.

Entergy offered a number of suggestions about how residentialcustomers can fairly easily reduce their electricity consumptionuntil the heat wave eases.

For instance, they can:

* Raise the central air conditioner thermostat to 78 degrees.Window units should be adjusted accordingly.

* Use energy efficient electric ceiling fans and portable fansto circulate air and help occupants feel cooler.

* Close window blinds, drapes and curtains to reduce warming inthe home from direct sunlight.

* Check the air conditioner filter to be sure it is clean.

* Delay laundering clothes, washing dishes, bathing, etc., untillater in the evening or early morning. These activities producemoisture and increase humidity in the house, making the airconditioner work harder.

* Wash clothes with cold water, cook foods at the lowestpossible setting, and resist the temptation to open the oven doorwhile baking.

* Do not allow cooled air to escape from the home. Checkcaulking around doors and windows. Close the fireplace damper. Fillholes and gaps where wiring and pipes enter the house.

* Make sure your clothes dryer and attic are ventedproperly.