Power outage threat retreats for KC as Southwest Power Pool ends emergency alerts

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southwest Power Pool has ended its energy emergency, providing a small sense of relief to those in the Kansas City metro and beyond in fear of a power outage.

“As of 9:30 a.m. CT, Feb. 18, SPP is no longer under an energy emergency alert. Due to continuing high loads & other implications of severe cold weather, it remains in a period of conservative operations until 10 p.m. CT, Feb. 20,” SPP tweeted Thursday morning.

SPP declared the emergency alerts during a record-breaking cold front that squatted over the Great Plains for more than a week. The power grid struggled and ultimately failed to provide enough energy as temperatures plunged and snow fell.

The power corporation ultimately told local energy providers, like Evergy and Independence Power & Light, to decrease energy use by temporarily shutting off the lights on residents. The planned outages in Kansas City came during the worst of the cold snap as high temperatures plunged below zero and the wind chill made it feel like minus 30 degrees.

SPP, which manages energy in a 14-state region, has several levels of reliability. During the outages, SPP declared an Emergency Energy Alert Level 3, which happens when reserves are below the required minimum and interruptions must happen.

Level 3 is just short of Restoration Event, which is “defined as a major or catastrophic grid outage which could be a total or partial regional blackout, island situation or system separation,” according to SPP’s website.

Ultimately, 270,000 Evergy customers experienced outages on Feb. 16. About 60,000 had outages the day before.

Evergy blamed high energy use due to the unusually cold weather, which brought snow down to Galveston, Texas and freezing temperatures as far south as Corpus Christi. Failing power plants in other states also contributed.

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