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CU Asks Customers To Conserve Natural Gas, Electricity

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UPDATED 1:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15:   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.

CU is asking customers to conserve natural gas and electricity through Friday, February 19.  There’s a reduced supply of natural gas for heating needs and electric generation, according to the company in a 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 because of “a critical problem created by severe cold creating delivery problems from the natural gas wells in Texas and Oklahoma,” CU said.

While CU customers could see a rise in their utility costs because of this, CU said it’s working to minimize the impact as much as possible.  The utility purchases less than 25 percent of its natural gas supply from the market.  The majority comes from fixed price contracts and storage, which is purchased off-season, according to the company.

“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,” the news release states.

CU customers are asked to lower their thermostats by at least two degrees.  The utility suggests 68 degrees as the average setting for winter, and they’d like customers to reduce the setting even more this week.

You’re asked to limit the use of natural gas fireplaces and plug-in electric space heaters and turn down the temperature of your water heaters.  And try to find other ways to lessen your use of electricity and natural gas through Friday.