JOPLIN, Mo. – People across the four-states are being told to prepare for possible rolling blackouts as electricity demand exceeds what’s produced. We spoke with Liberty Utilities about what to expect and how we all can help.
The Southwest Power Pool, which is made up of dozens of utility providers from the Mexico border to the Canadian border, issued a level three energy emergency alert, meaning demand on all of their member utilities is out pacing the ability to produce energy.
Evergy and Liberty are two of the major utilities in our area on the Southwest Power Pool. All of the members have been asked to implement controlled, temporary emergency electricity reductions to help reduce that demand. For some, that included residential customers, Liberty officials say they’re trying to avoid that. Kelli Price with Liberty Utilities says “Our first step is to work with our industrial and commercial customers, we had already been working with those customers to curtail energy use and so we began working with those customers to shut down power, that helped allow that energy to go back to the grid to help serve our residential customers.”
Another step Liberty is taking is expanding the peak alert from beyond just the normal peak hours. “We expanded that for all hours and we’re still asking our customers to please conserve energy where it’s safe to do so until midnight on Tuesday.”
Price says it’s important for customers to conserve as much as possible. “We recognize it’s definitely not a convenient time to conserve energy, it is bitterly cold, but we’re asking this of our customers so we can avoid longer term outages.”
Price says there are a few things you can do at home that can go a long way to keeping the lights on. “Certainly, lowering the thermostat by a couple of degrees, you know 68 degrees is what the recommended winter temperature is, if you can lower it a little below that if it’s safe for you to do that, we would ask that you do that, avoid energy consuming activities if you can, things like running your dishwasher, running your laundry, if you’re looking for an excuse not to do laundry I’m giving it to you, you don’t need to do it.”
Price also recommends turning the temperature on your hot water heater to 120°. She also wants to thank customers for already doing their part in conserving energy and she wants everyone to thank the line crews out ensuring power outages from the storm don’t last longer than they need to.