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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Entergy's Garland substation in Little Rock is shown in this file photo. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

Noon UPDATE:

Entergy Arkansas' request for customers to conserve power was called off earlier than expected — about 9:30 a.m. Thursday — a spokeswoman for the company said.

The decision came from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the organization of which Entergy is a part, according to Kerri Case.

MISO spokesman Mark Brown said the system asked member utilities in the south region to make an appeal for power conservation in preparation for unusually cold conditions.

The system has returned to normal operations as of Thursday, as temperatures are expected to return to moderate over the next few days.

Customers were originally asked to reduce power between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.

EARLIER:

Entergy Arkansas customers are being asked to conserve electricity use for six hours Thursday morning to avoid possible periodic outages brought on by high demand for power.

The utility, which has 700,000 customers in Arkansas, said in a statement that the regional transmission organization it joined in 2013, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, made the "unusual request because use of electricity could exceed available generation."

The system operator is also asking utilities in other states to conserve power, the statement added.

"The higher than expected demand is due to the unusually cold temperatures that moved into the territory over the past few days," Entergy wrote, noting there are also "unexpected power generator outages" within the system operator's southern region.

Customers in Arkansas are asked to reduce power between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. by taking steps like lowering the thermostat to a maximum of 68 and delaying laundry, washing dishes and bathing until later in the day.

Power failures are possible if demand remains high, the statement warned.

The system operator said in a separate statement that its southern region on Wednesday set a record for winter electricity usage at 32.1 GW. The summer record for the region is 32.6 GW.

Melanie Taylor, vice president of customer service for Entergy Arkansas, said elderly customers or those with health concerns should continue using electricity normally and not heed the request.

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by The Associated Press
by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports
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