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Southwest Power Pool issues Level 3 alert

 

Governor Laura Kelly issued a press release Sunday stating she declared a State of Disaster Emergency due to the wind chill warnings authorizing the use of state resources and personnel to assist with recovery operations in affected counties that meet certain criteria – cold temperatures caused stress on utility and natural gas providers.

“As the extreme cold temperatures continue to affect the region, we are urging Kansans to conserve energy in order to help ensure a continued supply of natural gas and electricity and keep their own personal costs down,” Gov. Kelly said.

"Because of the sub-zero temperatures which causes an increased energy demand and natural gas supply constraints, utilities are currently experiencing wholesale natural gas prices anywhere from 10 to 100 times higher than normal," a release from the governor's office said. "Those costs will eventually flow through to consumers, and increase monthly natural gas and electric bills."

Paul Mahlberg, General Manager of the Kansas Municipal Gas Agency (KMGA), stated Monday that Kansas Natural Gas is looking at a $30 million liability over the weekend due to cold temperatures. He’s hoping that liability slows down as temperatures go up.

He said that they won’t shut off member cities that include La Cygne and Pleasanton, “members with human needs,” but gas pressure will be, and was, curtailed due to the cold.

He said, “Supply is tight,” and mentioned the rolling black outs initiated by the electric companies.

In a press release issued by the Kansas Press Association for KEC Kansas Electric Cooperative, “The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which balances electricity production and use for a 14-state region including Kansas, has declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 just hours after issuing a Level 2 alert. The Level 3 declaration requires the SPP to direct its member companies to prepare to implement controlled interruptions of service if necessary.

“Kansas electric cooperatives and other electricity providers will be preparing to implement controlled service interruptions if the SPP deems it necessary to safeguard continued reliability of the regional grid.

“Kansas electric cooperatives are asking their members to conserve energy wherever possible and safe to do so to prevent worsening system conditions that could impact a broader area or have longer-lasting effects.

“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.

“The record-breaking cold is also putting a significant strain on natural gas supplies. The cold weather is freezing off natural gas production, making less gas available for delivery to customers. 

 “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.”

The governor’s State of Disaster press release included several suggestions to help curtail energy use until temperatures warm up outside.

·         Keep warm, not hot: When possible wear additional layers of clothing, consider turning down your thermostat and check your programmable settings.

·         Seal leaks around doors and windows: Apply weather stripping or caulk to seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors to stop air leaks and prevent energy loss. If that is not an option, you can also cover windows with towels, sheets or plastic to help keep the warm air in your house.

·         Reduce the temperature on your water heater: Set the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or put it on the “warm” setting. If your home will be vacant for two days or more, set the dial to the pilot position for even more savings.

·         Close blinds and curtains: This helps keep warm air inside, especially if the sun is not shining.

·         Change or clean filters: A clean filter on your furnace can lower your energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent. Dirty filters cost more to use and overwork the equipment.

·         Hold off on doing chores: Doing laundry and washing dishes can both use natural gas to heat the water and your dryer. If you can, wait until the extreme cold weather passes to complete these activities. If you cannot wait, use the cold setting where possible.

·         Install foam gaskets on electrical switches and outlets: Electrical switches and outlets can account for up to 10 percent of your home’s energy loss.

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