Evergy announces more power outages due to cold, explains lack of notice

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Evergy announced more rolling power outages in the metro as cold temperatures prompt high energy usage for a second day in a row.

“We’re resuming 30 to 60 minute intermittent outages due to regional power supply needs as directed by Southwest Power Pool. If your power is out for more than an hour, please report it,” the company tweeted early on Feb. 16.

As of 7:20 a.m., more than 12,000 people were experiencing outages.

Sudden blackouts during one of the coldest days in metro history yesterday turned out the lights for about 52,000 area residents, Evergy’s senior vice president and chief customer officer Chuck Caisley said.

“The Southwest Power Pool set a new peak demand record yesterday for the winter time,” Caisley said.

He said Southwest Power Pool, the organization that controls the power grid for more than a dozen states, declared an energy emergency level 3 on Feb. 15. It was the first time they had ever done that.

Caisley said increased energy demand prompted the blackouts, which was a preventative measure. He said there is a chance for a much longer, uncontrolled blackout if there isn’t enough power to meet the demand of all those regions. The temporary power outages help reduce that possibility.

Addressing the ire of residents who were caught off guard, Caisley said they had 10 minutes or less between the time they were told to implement the blackouts and the time they had to start shutting off power. The outages initiated by Every lasted between 12:15-1:25 p.m. This was done at the request of SPP.

“We have to act quickly to ensure the integrity and the operational stability of the electrical grid,” he said.

Evergy looked at its entire service area in that small time window and tried to pick places that would keep the grid balanced and stable. He said it’s very complex, and with the constraints given, it’s very difficult to give advanced warning.

The risk for blackouts is not over, Caisley said. The metro is at an increased risk at having more temporary emergency power outages as people wake up.

“We would ask people to continue to try and conserve their energy use,” he said. “Only do things that use electricity that you absolutely must.”

Energy demand is most at risk today, Feb. 16, around 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. SPP is expecting another record level of demand today as temperatures remain low.

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