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City Utilities' natural gas propane peaking plant is shown in operation Feb. 15.
Photo provided by City Utilities of Springfield
City Utilities' natural gas propane peaking plant is shown in operation Feb. 15.

Rolling blackouts issued, rescinded multiple times by CU

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As City Utilities responds to orders from the Southwest Power Pool regional transmission group this week, rolling blackouts have been issued and rescinded multiple times.

During a livestreamed news conference this morning, CU General Manager Gary Gibson received word that the most recent blackout order issued earlier today had been called off. A similar situation happened yesterday, and Gibson warned that more rolling blackouts could be on the way amid inclement weather this week. During rolling blackouts, electricity is shut off in certain portions of the city in 30-minute to one-hour intervals.

"The reason to do that load shedding is to just ensure the stability of the load and the transmission system across the Midwest," Gibson said, noting the alternative would be an "unstable system that could be a catastrophic failure of the entire electric system grid which would result in sustained and prolonged outages for the entire town."

Early this morning, CU was notified it must shed 34 megawatts out of the 1,500 megawatts SPP aimed to reduce across its footprint. However, CU received word hours later that it could restore half of that power this morning, and during the 10 a.m. news conference, Gibson said the latest blackout order had been canceled altogether.

CU is providing updates on the rolling blackouts on its Facebook page.

Springfield Business Journal yesterday reported CU is working with around 25 top clients to curtail their use of natural gas amid the severe weather situation. CU residential and commercial customers additionally are being asked to conserve energy.

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