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Southwest Power Pool Requests Emergency Electricity Reductions
A street corner during the day. It's the junction of 6th street and Minnesota Avenue.

Southwest Power Pool Requests Emergency Electricity Reductions

BPU customers affected as regional utilities begin intermittent outages to combat effects of bitter cold on energy supply

(KANSAS CITY, Ks.)Due to extended extreme temperatures affecting the regional power supply, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has asked all member electric utilities, including the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU), to implement controlled, temporary emergency electricity interruptions in order to help avoid larger uncontrolled and extended power outages throughout the region.

Beginning on February 15th at 12:10 p.m., BPU began to turn off electricity to blocks of customers for approximately 40 minutes. Once the period concluded, power was restored to the impacted area. The emergency outages will then rotate to another portion of BPU’s service area and power may cycle off and on periodically until the reduction is no longer required by the SPP.

If you are impacted by an emergency electricity reduction, you do NOT need to report your outage. Rather, check BPU’s outage map https://outage.bpu.com for more information. All customers should be prepared for the potential for these periodic outages.

If you experience an outage that lasts longer than 40 minutes, report your outage at www.bpu.com or call 913-573-9522.

At the request of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), The Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) is asking customers to conserve electricity use as much as possible through Wednesday, Feb. 17. The SPP, which coordinates the 17-state regional power supply, advises that the region’s coldest weather in decades is creating high demand for electricity. At the same time, the extreme weather is driving high demand for natural gas used to heat homes and businesses, straining the gas supply available to generate electricity, and icy conditions have made availability of wind generation uncertain.

The SPP has advised that the unprecedented low temperatures across a widespread region creates the potential for electricity shortages and has asked all utilities in the region to encourage customers to reduce electricity usage in order to maintain electricity supply overall and avoid potential power outages.

“Everybody must do their part to save electricity the next few days and this in turn will help us make sure the power supply continues to best serve the region’s needs,” said David Mehlhaff, BPU Chief Communications Officer.

All customers can help, and can lower their bills, by taking the following steps, if they can do so safely:

  • Turn thermostats a little cooler (65-68 degrees). Avoid the use of electric space heaters.
  • Close blinds and shades to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Change or clean filters on furnaces.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and appliances in your home.
  • When possible, use large appliances (clothes washers, dryers and dishwashers) between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Reduce air leaks that let cold air in by sealing around doors and windows with weather-stripping or caulk and inserting foam gaskets on electrical switches and outlets.
  • Businesses should reduce the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential processes.
  • BPU is a member of the Southwest Power Pool, which coordinates the regional transmission grid and wholesale energy markets for the central United States, including Kansas and Missouri. The SPP monitors power flow through its footprint and coordinates regional response in emergency situations.

About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.

About BPU

BPU’s water department was originally created in 1909, and its electric utility was operational in 1912. The purpose of the utility, then and to this day, is to provide the highest quality electric and water services at the lowest possible cost. Today the publicly owned utility serves approximately 63,000 electric and 53,000 water customers, primarily in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The mission of the utility and its employees is “to focus on the needs of our customers, to improve the quality of life in our community while promoting safe, reliable and sustainable utilities.” BPU’s Web site is www.bpu.com.

 
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