Power company ready to make changes for next major storm

The Christmas Day storm and how electric companies handled long lasting power outages is back on the front burner as energy executives come together.

It was also only a month ago when tens of thousands of Arkansans lost power from winter storms.

A Wednesday Q&A roundtable at the Clinton School of Public Service looked at how companies that help with disasters approach severe situations differently.

The group discussed reacting to a major crisis like an earthquake, but in reality it becomes more of a desperate situation for many of us when our power is out for more than 24 hours.

The snow and ice from December was a welcoming sight for many, but when the white turned to darkness in the majority of Arkansas homes, panic set in.

"What we learned is that central Arkansas and all of Arkansas can be a challenging time during the winter time," said Hugh McDonald, president and CEO of Entergy Arkansas, Inc.

McDonald admits that week was a very trying time for his company, and said he noticed one major problem where it let customers down.

"Communicating to our customers in a much more detailed level, and how we do that, it means we have to redeploy our resources differently in the field," he added.

McDonald knows Entergy dodged a bullet that there was no extensive damage during severe weather Tuesday night, but going forward he said changes must be made.

"We've got to get those customer service people who are familiar with the territory out with the crews, or out with the crew leaders."