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City Utilities To Begin Rolling Blackouts In Springfield

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KSMU - Ozarks Public Radio
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UPDATED 1:40 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15:   At a press conference, Gary Gibson, general manager of City Utilities of Springfield, said the utility company implemented brief blackouts Monday in certain parts of south Springfield. The need for blackouts has been temporarily rescinded, Gibson said, but CU will let the public know if further blackouts are needed.

"The situation is very fluid," Gibson said, adding that CU will be in "close contact" throughout the coming week. "[Power blackouts] can happen 24/7, depending on what Southwest Power Pool requires of us."

Gibson said CU has reached out to top users of its power supply to reduce their consumption. 

ORIGINAL STORY:

City Utilities of Springfield, in an emergency move to reduce its electric load within the Southwest Power Pool it is part of, will begin a "rolling blackout" of power soon in sections of Springfield, according to a news alert sent shortly after noon Monday. 

"These [blackouts] will last from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and will be executed in different areas of the city. All areas of the City Utilities electric service territory may potentially be impacted," CU said in the news release.

A news conference is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in Springfield, according to CU.  That news conference will be livestreamed on the City of Springfield's CityView and also on the Facebook pages of KSMU and City Utilities.

Over the weekend, as temperatures dropped to dangerously low levels, CU officials urged the public to conserve electricity and natural gas. CU is recommending the following:

*   Lower thermostats by at least two degrees, with 68 degrees as the average setting for winter. 

*   Llimit the use of natural gas fireplaces and plug-in electric space heaters

*   Turn down the temperature of your water heaters  '

*  Try to find other ways to lessen your use of electricity and natural gas through Friday

In an earlier news release, CU officials said the majority of utility companies in the Midwest are experiencing natural gas delivery issues.  That’s not due to lack of supply or ability to purchase natural gas, but rather because of “a critical problem created by severe cold creating delivery problems from the natural gas wells in Texas and Oklahoma,” City Utilities said.

“In preparation of this event, City Utilities has taken the following steps to lessen the impact to customers: CU has initiated a Natural Gas Curtailment agreement with several large commercial and industrial customers who have the ability to switch from natural gas to an alternate fuel source. This option immediately redirects supply to residential and other commercial customers. Additionally, City Utilities activated the Natural Gas Peak Shaving system which combines a supply of propane and air and is injected into the natural gas transmission system to assist with this peak demand. This has been the first time this system has been used and was put in place for such an event,” City Utilities said in the news release.