Power cos.: Rolling blackouts to non-critical facilities

Hays Daily News Staff Reports
Midwest Energy

Midwest Energy officials on Tuesday morning said the power provider has begun to interrupt service to save power.

"As ordered by SPP, Midwest Energy has begin mandatory interruptions of service to non-critical facilities on a rotational basis, with each rotation lasting no more than two hours," said a statement from the company. "Many of these interruptions would involve non-critical facilities, including oil field service and commercial loads, though some rural residential customers could also be affected. These circuits include: Oil field load in Ellis, Russell, Barton and Ness County, and various commercial loads (these have been coordinated directly with the affected businesses)."

Sunflower Electric issued a similar statement.

"Sunflower Electric Power Corporation was notified by the Southwest Power Pool that the14-state region is again in an Emergency Energy Alert Level 3 due to weather and resource conditions," said the statement Tuesday morning. "An EEA3 means there is not currently enough electricity to serve the demand. Electric utilities have been ordered to implement scheduled interruptions. Please help by avoiding all unnecessary use of electricity."

Ongoing extreme cold has ramped usage and at the same time hampered some power production.

The overnight low Monday night was minus 16, a new record, according to the K-State Ag Research Center - Hays. Tuesday's temperature at 8 a.m. was minus 10 degrees, with a windchill of minus 24 degrees. A year ago today the high was 53 degrees and the low 22, the center reported.

"The record-breaking cold is also putting a significant strain on natural gas supplies," the statement said.  "The cold weather is freezing off natural gas production, making less gas available for delivery to customers.  Some pipelines are imposing cuts on the amount of gas available to customers, so Midwest Energy is asking its natural gas customers to conserve gas as well.  We sincerely appreciate everyone’s efforts at conservation."

To further reduce loads, Midwest Energy again asked customers Tuesday, whose health permits, to turn thermostats down, and to not use appliances with heavy energy consumption, continuing through mid-week.  The company said a few specific actions customers can take include: 

— If your health permits, turn your furnace thermostat down 3 to 5 degrees lower than normal. 

— Postpone using high-consumption appliances such as clothes dryers, ovens and dishwashers.  Delaying laundry a day or two, or making microwave-friendly meals, and hand-washing dishes would save significant amounts of energy. 

— Turn off any lights and appliances that you are not using.