Cold

UPDATED 7:23 a.m.:

The Southwest Power Pool, Tuesday morning, has reinstated Energy Emergency Alert Level 3. Rolling blackouts have already started for some Lyon County customers. 

The original order had been issued Monday afternoon, which was then rescinded Monday evening. The order requires the SPP's member companies — including all energy companies in Kansas — to prepare to implement "controlled interruptions of service."

The SPP, which balances electricity production and use for a 14-state region including Kansas, had declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3, Monday afternoon. 

While blackouts have been halted for now, there is still a chance the Level 3 alert could be reinstated, with rolling blackouts expected through Tuesday.

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

While rolling blackouts are no longer occurring, power outages due to extreme weather conditions can still happen. 

WARMING STATIONS AVAILABLE

Lyon County Emergency Manager Jarrod Fell said warming stations have been set up for the City of Emporia at White Auditorium, 111 E. 6th Ave., from 5 p.m. Monday evening to 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. 

Those entering the warming station should enter from the 6th Avenue entrance on the north side of the building. There will be no services provided at this location — it is a warming station only. 

The Emporia Recreation Center will be open and offering its facility as a warming station from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday - Friday, if they are not impacted by power outages. 

"The periods of interruption will likely be a small number of hours, but with temperatures at the lows they are it won’t take long for people to get cold," Fell said in an email. "Lyon County Emergency Management recommends that all residents prepare for these controlled outages, although it is unknown if our community will be impacted."

Fell said sealing gaps in windows and doors can help with keeping cold air out. He recommended gathering blankets and developing a plan to stay warm for a few hours if necessary. 

"We caution all residents NOT to utilize a heat source indoors that is fueled by gasoline, diesel, propane and butane fuel," he said. "These fuel sources produce carbon monoxide and are unsafe to be used indoors. Other alternative heat sources may be unsafe as well. Use caution when considering these alternate methods of heating."

Fell said those with emergency generators should pay attention to the exhaust to ensure it was not entering your homes.

He said to leave sufficient space between alternative heating devices and combustible material to prevent fires from occurring and to avoid using stovetop gas burners to supply heat.

"We recommend that you develop a plan and stay home if possible," Fell stressed. "Road conditions are unfavorable at this time and the temperatures are bitter cold. Alternative plans may include driving to a neighbor’s home that may have heat.

"Lyon County has warming shelter plans in place, if prolonged power outages occur, we will notify the public of warming shelter operations and locations."

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 Kansas Corporation Commission said Kansas residents can conserve energy by turning down thermostats and not using high energy-consuming appliances, such as clothes washers and dryers, ovens and dishwashers, beginning now and continuing through mid-week.

Other ways Kansans can do their part to help conserve electricity include:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees if your health permits.
  • Check and change furnace filters if needed to ensure optimum airflow. Rule of thumb: change filter every 3 months; 2 months if you have pets or family members have allergies.
  • Close furnace registers and doors to unoccupied rooms to keep occupied rooms warmer, which will help reduce consumption.
  • Keep vents clear. High efficiency furnaces have vents leading outside. Make sure they are not blocked with ice or debris. Inside, make sure vents are not covered by rugs or furniture.
  • Resist the urge to crank up the thermostat as it’s unlikely to make much of difference except to put a strain on the furnace and your energy bill. Instead, wear an extra layer or use blankets to keep warm. Lowering the temperature just a couple of degrees will protect your furnace.
  • Reprogram thermostat if it’s set to lower significantly at night or when no one is home. During extreme cold weather like we are experiencing now, the furnace will have a hard time raising the temperature to the desired level and it will use more energy to do so.
  • Close blinds and curtains to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Make microwave or toaster-oven friendly meals to save energy.
  • Unplug electronics and other items not in use.
  • Businesses should minimize use of lighting and electric-consuming equipment as much as possible.

The winter weather is affecting all of Kansas and several surrounding states, and Kansas electric cooperatives are monitoring conditions and staging personnel and resources so in the event there are power outages, restoration work can begin as quickly and safely as possible.

(35) comments

Aim_High

Cropduster talks about bleeding heart liberals and global warming, then whines about me simply pointing out misinformation from politically biased sources and says I am the one bringing up politics... what a goofball.

cropduster1

Not whining, just an opinion. As is yours about what sources are biased or not. As for being a goofball it's all a matter of perception. You chose to believe what you want as will I. Your opinion isn't any better than mine or dilly. We just happen to believe what we believe. So here's an old toast from bar days. Here's to you and here's to me and if we should ever disagree. The hell with you and here's to me.

Rationa1

I suggest that an opinion derived from a well-informed base of knowledge, that is formed after looking at verifiable and relevant facts, IS better than one that is derived from ideology. As Isaac Asimov once wrote, Americans hold a false notion that democracy means "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

Which explains a lot about why and how we let the COVID-19 pandemic get away from us.

Dilly919

There is a link that follows detailing the failures that contributed to the massive energy catastrophe that had a profound impact on millions of people.

According to Kevin Williamson:

“This situation could have been avoided had ERCOT acted more swiftly — but it never would have been an issue had our grid not been so deeply penetrated by renewable energy sources that contribute the least when they are needed the most, yet are propped up by billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies every year.”

The full link follows;

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/why-texas-went-dark/

Aim_High

Nationalreview.com is a far-right website biased towards conservative causes, and is not a credible news source. Renewable energy subsidies are a drop in the bucket when compared to fossil fuel subsidies.

"Dr. David Tuttle, a research associate with the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, says electric generating plants did not properly winterize their equipment. "

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says "The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen. This includes the natural gas & coal generators. They are working to get generation back online."

Texas also has built it's own power grid separate from the rest of the country to avoid federal regulations. If they had build to federal regulations they might not have had this kind of failure.

Dilly919

First, National Review is not a far right site. It is Conservative. Second, I’m not sure you read the full essay. It originated from a Texas energy consortium. Third, Williamson explained quite well that the root problem was management and planning, particularly when it comes to reserves. Fourth, I don’t why people like you almost always find a way to discredit based on their political philosophy or perceived political philosophy. Fifth, The point the Texas commission was trying to bring up in the was a desire to work with ALL parties to solve the problems so that Texas and the other impacted states don’t have to go through this again.

I didn’t enter this conversation with an argument or a political attack in mind, but I’m learning it will be much better for me to just pass by in situations like this.

Aim_High

Both National Review and Conservatives are in fact far right, lol. Just right of center you will find your normal moderate Republicans (which are more of a rarity these days), then farther right you have conservatives and libertarians, and to the extreme right you have the Q-Anon Trump worshiping type. Most conservatives refuse to admit they're far right, because they don't believe they're crazy, which is understandable. There are plenty of reputable sites saying poor management was the cause, yet here you are putting the political "subsidized" spin on it... sad! Did you know wind turbines operate in much harsher climates than Texas? Hmmmm....

I didn't bother reading the essay, because I have no desire to get information about a national emergency from politically biased sources. When people do that, we end up with anti-maskers and covid hoaxers... which are a huge waste of time. I'll stick to the experts.

People like me? Lol, I only discredit the obviously biased. If you choose to get your news from politics focused groups, that is your right. I'm just pointing out who "NationalReview" is in case someone looking for factual information happens to read this. You won't see me linking far left websites because they aren't always factual. Stick with the experts.

You might not have intentionally entered this conversation with politics in mind, which is why I pointed out your source is politically biased. Blaming lack of management on subsidies with National Review as your source was a poor choice... stick with the experts!

cropduster1

Dilly in case you haven't noticed neither aim of hollow can have a conversation without bringing up their slanted political views. Their source is always right hours of mine never will be. No need to argue with them. You can't have a battle of wits with unarmed participants.

cropduster1

How do all of you bleeding heart liberals like this global warming that we are currently having.

HoundstoothHawkins

Hur hur climate change fake because cold outside. You clearly don't understand the difference between climate and weather.

Aim_High

Lol, goof.

Hollowed Ground

I read where some oil refineries are shut down due to frozen equipment. That should make our wonderful capitalist oil companies raise their price instantly! Any excuse will do. We definitely need socialist energy companies so when short term emergencies happen we don't have long term price gouging.

Hollowed Ground

Texas goober guv Abbott declared an emergency so he can get federal money. Why should anyone help Texas? Texas doesn't even have an income tax, so it does not even perform its own due diligence towards establishing its own reserve funds for weather emergencies like freezes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Let 'em freeze! It's only for a few days. And look at all the fool Texans slipping and sliding and crashing on the highways! Too dumb to stay inside and off the roads. Too dumb to drive in a manner commensurate with conditions. So when does the next rollover happen here? It's been a few days since we've had one so we're overdue.

Aim_High

Maybe we should debate it for 6 months and then offer $600.

RealityStinks

So when there is a state emergency like a tornado , hurricane , major storm or any kind the state usually declares an emergency so they can get federal aid. Federal money is the money from the united states treasury that we the people give for taxes. Now Texas doesn't have state income tax but they do have federal income tax. So the state of Texas has the right to ask for federal aid.

RealityStinks

People who support wind farms usually do not live near them. Even Kerry our energy czar stopped having a wind farm built near his property. Texas has many wind farms and they are now on a rolling power outage program because it's cold and half of their wind turbines are frozen Natural gas is much better and is a clean source of energy. Renewables can not be relied on.

Hollowed Ground

People who support carbon belching plants like coal plants and gas plants and oil plants, or nuclear plants, usually do not live near them either. They let the peons take the risk while they take the benefits.

Dilly919

Wind turbines capture kinetc energy which is fed into the grid to supply power to customers.

Smkiefer

How's that green energy working for y'all????? Iced up windmills don't spin!!!#drillbabydrill!!!!!!!

HoundstoothHawkins

So you read this article about how demand is outstripping supply and concluded it was the windmill's fault? You think wind power is driving demand? You're a little touched, aren't you?

Kansasforever

Turbines Freeze Up in Texas Cold Snap – Shutting Down Nearly Half of the Wind Energy in West Texas, yes part of this could be tied to this event

HoundstoothHawkins

It's actually much more complex than just the turbines being frozen. As I already mentioned, increased demand is outpacing supply. Yes, the cold is freezing turbines, but natural gas is being diverted for use for heating which means Evergy can’t run peaking plants which are designed to offset increased demand. Rain and snow melt has also froze some coal at the coal plants. All of this compounded to create the situation we're in. Anyone who is like "hur hur wind bad" doesn't actually care about the current situation and just has an axe to grind.

Something else no one has mentioned is that our transmission capabilities have significantly degraded over the past 20 years or so which makes getting base load generation to where it needs to be harder and harder each passing year.

Without a significant investment in a renewable portfolio with retraining and massive influx of capital into updating our infrastructure you can expect more of the same. Wind or not.

Kansasforever

According to Austin America statesman Texas is currently using peak of 74k megawatts. Wind in Texas out of commission over 12k megawatts. Kansas winds produce a total of 6.8k megawatts daily. Clearly the lost wind power in Texas is accounting for a major electric shortage problem

Hollowed Ground

Doubtful. Many power plants are down for maintenance which is normal in the winter so they can meet the summer peek. Others are down due to frozen cooling water, but that's just for a week or so..

Aim_High

Electricity is produced using coal, nuclear, hydro, wind, and the sun. You can't drill for it though, lol.

omega1xg

You left out natural gas... Which uh, needs to be drilled for.

Aim_High

Windmills aren't used for electricity generation either, lol.

RealityStinks

Then why do we pay the outrages money to put them up. The electric companies are required by regulation to buy the electricity the wind turbines produce. If there were no subsidies there would be wind turbines put up except off the grid.

Aim_High

Wind mills ≠ Wind turbines.

Kansasforever

Essentially wind turbines are

RealityStinks

You know in some places they are having them removed.

Hollowed Ground

They're working fine. Iced up power lines don't conduct power; they fall down. Iced up lakes shut down coal, gas and nuclear plants b/c they lose their cooling supply. So go drill your butt. In a week, the wind turbines will be spinning again but your brain cells will still be stuck.

Kansasforever

Interesting that a cold snap like what happened all the time in decades gone by is causing potential blackouts. Yet in 15 years the president wants all appliances and even cars to run on electricity without fossil fuel power plants. There will never be enough windmills or solar panels to do this. Furthermore electric use is much higher in the summer with ac season! The makings of the perfect storm.

Hollowed Ground

Solar panels not much good on cloudy days. Windmills not much good when all iced up. But those are short term conditions. The real bottleneck is the national grid capacity. No one is addressing that. For a while, charging cars at night will equalize load and hide the issue. But sooner or later the grid will be asked to carry all the energy presently residing in 300,000,000 gas tanks, and the greens ain't gonna like the response.

Aim_High

Also cryptocurrency mining... Bitcoin alone currently consumes 121.36 TWh per year.

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