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Energy alerts issued for 14-state Southwest Power Pool region

Sunflower Electric press release
The Southwest Power Pool is asking customers to conserve energy during the bitter cold gripping the midwest that has left electricity and gas supplies extremely tight.

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and its member cooperatives are issuing public appeals for electric consumers in Kansas to reduce unnecessary energy usage starting now and continuing for the next few days. Throughout SPP’s 14-state area, similar calls for conservation are being made by all electric utilities.

The Southwest Power Pool, the Regional Transmission Organization to which Sunflower belongs, has issued an Energy Emergency Alert 3 (EEA3) due to the extreme weather conditions that are causing the tightening supplies of energy generation and natural gas.

“The current weather pattern that brought record-breaking temperatures has strained natural gas supply and electric generating resources, resulting in a serious situation on the electric grid in the region,” said Stuart Lowry, Sunflower president and CEO. “We are issuing an appeal for electricity conservation to mitigate scheduled electricity interruptions from SPP.”

The EEA3 is the third of three emergency phases. The first two phases, issued Sunday and early Monday, requested energy conservation to help avoid scheduled interruptions of energy that could occur in an EEA3.

An EEA3, the last of three levels, signals that SPP is operating with reserves below the required minimum and may order member utilities to curtail energy use through controlled interruptions of service. This occurred today at 12:15 p.m. when SPP directed its members to reduce the energy load by specified amounts that vary by utility. Each individual utility determines how best to achieve the load reduction based on their emergency operating plans.

Each utility’s load shed request will vary, and Sunflower was directed by the SPP Balancing Authority to shed 14 megawatts of electricity due to lack of regional generation to cover electricity demand. Sunflower then implemented its rotating load-shed schedule, a schedule that limits the length of electricity interruptions throughout the system. When required to shed load, Sunflower will do its best to limit curtailed electricity interruptions to durations of 30-60 minutes.

SPP’s load-shed order was rescinded by SPP at approximately 1:15 p.m., and all curtailed loads were restored. At 2 p.m., the SPP Balancing Authority returned the system to EEA Level 2, which calls for continued energy conservation but no imminent load curtailments.

Sunflower, like other utilities in the region, is facing curtailed gas supply to its generating units but currently has Holcomb Station (coal) and most if its gas generation fleet in service to the extent gas supply is available.

Consumers and businesses are encouraged to reduce electricity use. Suggestions for conserving energy include the following:

• Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and clothes dryers until the energy emergency is over.

• Turn off non-essential electric appliances and equipment (radios, coffee pots, media centers, etc.). • Turn off power strips if not in use.

• Actively turn off computers and monitors not in use (The "sleep" mode is good, but the "off" mode is better.). If possible, use a laptop computer as it uses much less electricity than a desktop computer.

• Turn off lights wherever possible (don’t forget outside and decorative lighting).

• Adjust the thermostat 2-4 degrees. Reduce unnecessary use of heating units.

• Those with an electric range should plan meals that require a minimum of cooking.

• Open shades and blinds during the day and close shades and blinds at night to save energy.

• Avoid use of ovens and clothes dryers. Put off doing laundry.

• Dress warm.

• Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.

Electric consumers are encouraged to contact their local electric utility if they have questions about the request to conserve energy for the next several days.

Sunflower Electric Power Corporation is a regional wholesale power supplier that operates a system of solar wind, natural gas, and coal-based generating plants and a transmission system of approximately 2,400 miles for the needs of its seven Members, who serve customers living in central and western Kansas. Visit Sunflower’s website at http://www.sunflower.net

Sunflower’s member cooperatives include Lane-Scott Electric Cooperative, Dighton; Pioneer Electric Cooperative, Ulysses; Prairie Land Electric Cooperative, Norton; The Victory Electric Cooperative Association, Dodge City; Western Cooperative Electric Association, WaKeeney; and Wheatland Electric Cooperative, Scott City, Kansas. Southern Pioneer Electric Company is also a Member of Sunflower.