Benton Utilities Logo

With the extremely frigid temperatures, residents in Saline County are feeling the heat to curb their electricity usage.

Benton Utilities asked its customers on Tuesday at 8:12 p.m. to suspend the usage of non-essential electrical items such as clothes dryers, washing machines, dishwashers and non-essential lighting.

“We have received an imperative to immediately reduce our system load…we know customers are in the middle of cooking dinner, etc., but have no choice to forward our request, BU said.

By 9:20, BU announced that the response from its customers had brought the capacity back to an acceptable level. Although forced outages are not out of the question in the future, BU said they would last 30 to 60 minutes. Customers can help prevent the forced outages by turning off unnecessary electrical equipment.

“Out of precaution, we ask that you continue to conserve energy the best you can,” BU said. “We can't thank you enough and wish you a safe rest of the night.”

Entergy Arkansas began rolling blackouts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, but had resumed normal operations by 9:30 p.m.

Although BU does not buy power from Entergy, power is delivered to Benton, the Arkansas electric cooperatives and Entergy’s bulk transmission system.

“MISO, the independent system operator, constantly monitors and keeps all of us informed,” BU said. “Each electric entity plays a part in conservation. We're all in this together. If we hear from the transmission team that we must reduce consumption, we will keep you all informed early and often. In the meantime, if we all do a little to help, we hope to avoid any forced outages. We will be here. Call us. Text us. Tag/share with friends and family. Help us spread the word. Stay warm, and be safe. You are our eyes and ears. Thank you for reporting leaks, etc., and keeping in touch with us. We appreciate you. Thank you, to all of our great customers and please check back here for further updates.”

Other companies in the state have also planned, implemented or considered rolling blackouts due to the weather including First Electric Co-op, Craighead Electric Co-op, Conway Corp, Southwester Electric Power Company and OGE Energy Corp.