Kansas – The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which balances electricity production and use for a 14-state region including Kansas, declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 at 10:08 a.m. Monday and forced it to begin relying on required reserve energy.
“Conserve. Hold off using their major appliances such as their ovens, their dryers things that aren’t as critical,” said Sarah Madden, Butler Electric Cooperative. “Just focusing on keeping their homes warm and maybe not using some of those high-end energy users.”
Madden says Butler Electric experienced a power outage that was not planned for Monday but diverted power and got customers back on the grid.
Textron Aviation announced Monday it will cancel Tuesday production to help out with power consumption.
“In response to the need to conserve energy resources, Textron Aviation will close all Kansas facilities on Tuesday, February 16. Second shift employees who have already reported to work on Monday, February 15 will complete their shift. Office and support personnel who can work from home are being asked to vacate facilities immediately as energy conservation has already begun. More information about continued operations will be shared directly with employees as details become available,” said Textron Aviation Senior communications executive Sarah White.
Gina Penzig with Evergy says the company has the possibility of planned blackouts on the table for Tuesday.
The cold weather is freezing off natural gas production, making less gas available for delivery to customers.
“We are already seeing high electric use and are anticipating record-breaking demand in the next 24 to 48 hours,” said Lee Tafanelli, CEO of Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc.
After exhausting usage, SPP directed its member utilities to implement controlled interruptions of service to prevent further, more widespread outages.
“In our history as a grid operator, this is an unprecedented event and marks the first time SPP has ever had to call for controlled interruptions of service,” said SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell. “It’s a last resort that we understand puts a burden on our member utilities and the customers they serve, but it’s a step we’re consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse, which could result in uncontrolled outages of even greater magnitude.”
Evergy said at 12:15, they began turning off the electricity to blocks of customers for approximately 30-60 minutes according to a news release. The emergency outages will then rotate to another portion of Evergy’s service area.
Power will cycle off and on periodically until the reduction is no longer required by the SPP. With these extreme cold temperatures, equipment may not operate as intended. As a result, outages could last longer than 30 – 60 minutes.
If you are impacted by an emergency electricity reduction, you do not need to report your outage. Rather, check Evergy’s outage map and www.evergy.com/outageinfo for more information. All customers should be prepared for the potential for these periodic outages. If you experience an outage that lasts longer than an hour, report your outage at www.evergy.com or call 888-544-4852 or 800-544-4857, for Kansas Central customers.
Black Hills Energy is closely monitoring the situation to ensure the impact on homes and businesses is minimized.
“To date, our system has performed as intended. We have worked to ensure homes stay warm, but we need your help,” said Black Hills Energy Kansas General Manager Jerry Watkins. “There are steps you can take today to minimize the financial burden and reduce increased energy use generated by these frigid temperatures.”
The KEC asked members to conserve energy.
“We are facing several critical days where both electric and natural gas supplies will be extremely tight,” Tafanelli said. “By reducing power usage where safely possible, we can help protect the integrity and reliability of the electric grid.”
Kansans can conserve energy by turning down thermostats and not using high energy-consuming appliances, such as clothes washers and dryers, ovens, and dishwashers, beginning now and continuing through mid-week.
Other ways Kansans can do their part to help conserve electricity include:
- Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees if your health permits.
- Check and change furnace filters if needed to ensure optimum airflow. Rule of thumb: change filter every 3 months; 2 months if you have pets or family members have allergies.
- Close furnace registers and doors to unoccupied rooms to keep occupied rooms warmer, which will help reduce consumption.
- Keep vents clear. High efficiency furnaces have vents leading outside. Make sure they are not blocked with ice or debris. Inside, make sure vents are not covered by rugs or furniture.
- Resist the urge to crank up the thermostat as it’s unlikely to make much of difference except to put a strain on the furnace and your energy bill. Instead, wear an extra layer or use blankets to keep warm. Lowering the temperature just a couple of degrees will protect your furnace.
- Reprogram thermostat if it’s set to lower significantly at night or when no one is home. During extreme cold weather like we are experiencing now, the furnace will have a hard time raising the temperature to the desired level and it will use more energy to do so.
- Close blinds and curtains to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
- Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
- Make microwave or toaster-oven friendly meals to save energy.
- Unplug electronics and other items not in use.
- Businesses should minimize use of lighting and electric-consuming equipment as much as possible