Missouri facing more rolling power outages as extreme winter cold continues

By: - February 16, 2021 8:44 am

Ameren Missouri is seeking a rate increase worth nearly $300 million. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Rolling blackouts continued Tuesday morning in southwest and western Missouri, the result of extreme winter weather conditions creating high demand for electricity.

Evergy, which serves eastern Kansas and western Missouri, announced plans Monday afternoon to begin shutting off power for rotating blocks of customers for 30-60 minutes at a time. The rolling blackouts were directed by the Southwest Power Pool, which markets the power supply for a 17-state region.

The company said approximately 60,000 customers temporarily lost power on Monday.

Tuesday morning, Evergy announced it was resuming “30 to 60 minute intermittent outages.”

“Even with reliable operations, the extreme cold is driving high demand for electricity and straining natural gas supplies, requiring all the utilities in the region to ask for customers’ help in conserving energy until the temperatures warm up later this week,” Kevin Bryant, Evergy’s chief operating officer, told Kansas Reflector.

Meanwhile, the publicly-owned utility that provides heat and light to 111,000 customers in the Springfield area said rolling blackouts would continue on Tuesday.

“Each blackout will last from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and will be executed in different areas of the city,” City Utilities said in a statement posted on Twitter, later adding: “We are asking you to continue to please reduce and conserve on natural gas and electricity in your home.”

In an effort to conserve electricity, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas asked that the city’s downtown skyline go dark Monday night.

“City Hall will also turn off all exterior lights,” the mayor said.

The extreme cold will continue Tuesday, with more snow expected Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service in Kansas City.

“Folks,” the agency tweeted Tuesday morning, “it’s just stupid (and dangerously) cold out there.”

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Jason Hancock
Jason Hancock

Jason Hancock has been writing about Missouri since 2011, most recently as lead political reporter for The Kansas City Star. He has spent nearly two decades covering politics and policy for news organizations across the Midwest, and has a track record of exposing government wrongdoing and holding elected officials accountable.

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