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Rolling Outages Possible

When the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) declares an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 for its 14-state balancing authority area, the generation and transmission (G&T) entity providing electricity to the co-op immediately implements a rotating load-shed schedule (brownouts). The schedule is based on how much the demand for electricity exceeds the current supply. The power interruptions generally last from 30-90 minutes, some longer, depending on how much load must be shed. The G&T chooses “load blocks” or areas of service that will meet SPP’s load shed directive. This process must happen quickly to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole, which does not allow co-ops to alert their members in advance. We urge electric cooperative members to conserve energy use and follow these instructions regarding conservation and being prepared for outages: Turn down thermostats and avoid 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 between 65-68 degrees if your health permits.

• Set your water heater at 120 degrees

• 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.

• 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.

To prepare for more potential planned outages, the co-op urges members to make sure phones and other electric devices are charged at all times, keep flashlights with batteries on hand, have several blankets, sweaters, gloves and coats at the ready, and have a “go kit” with food, water, medicine and other must-haves in case you need to head to a local warming center.

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