LITTLE ROCK Approximately 100,000 Entergy customers have had power restored to their homes and places of business, according to a release from the company.
The release also states that 94,000 are still waiting on power following the Christmas night storm that left 194,233 without power across the state.
“All repairs to the transmission system substations affecting customers have been complete. Although we are making good progress in challenging conditions, we still expect getting the lights back on will be a lengthy process in Arkansas. The majority of the remaining power outages will be repaired within the next couple of days, but some of the more difficult cases could take as long as Tuesday to complete,” said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc., in the release.
Those who wish to call customer service, starting tomorrow, can call 1-800-9OUTAGE (368-3749) to discuss their outages. The center will open at 10 a.m.
Entergy's chief executive officer says that around 106,000 customers are still without power across the state, with a large concentration of them being in Little Rock and southwestern Arkansas.
In a Friday afternoon press conference, CEO Hugh McDonald told reporters that the restoration process is 40-percent complete, with a chunk of the 194,000 Entergy customers that went without power at the outage's peak at 7 a.m. on Wednesday are back in service.
McDonald said that 5,000 utility workers were brought in from 15 states across the southeast and southwest to deal with the outages, with 4,000 currently working. A total of 2,700 of the workers are dealing with the field maintenance.
In all, the most-affected areas are Little Rock, Hot Springs and Malvern, McDonald said. In Little Rock, areas such as The Heights, Cammack Village and Foxcroft could be in for longer outages, with McDonald saying that it will be "tough" to get power back to those areas. Around the state, McDonald said that it could take the previously-stated 7-9 days for the more extreme and remote areas to get their power back.
The damage assessment is 75-percent complete, McDonald added.
While the backlash from customers is "what you'd expect", McDonald said, businesses have been a different story, with not much coming from them in terms of criticism, he added.
While an official figure hasn't been reached, McDonald said that the storm and subsequent power outages will cost "tens of millions of dollars" when everything is finished.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.