Oklahoma preparing for possible rolling power outages as overtaxed system struggles

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Officials say Oklahomans across the state may or may not experience rolling power outages on Monday.

For days, energy companies have been asking customers to do their part to conserve power during a massive winter storm.

Officials say the calls to conserve energy were due to a number of factors including limited supply, infrastructure issues and frozen equipment.

Now, the question remains if Oklahomans will spend some time in the dark due to rolling power outages.

On Monday, the Southwest Power Pool announced that it was moving to Energy Emergency Alert Level 3. That level signifies that SPP is operating with reserves below the required minimum.

As a result, SPP may direct power suppliers to curtail energy use through controlled interruptions of service, like rolling outages.

“In our history as a grid operator, this is an unprecedented event and marks the first time SPP has ever had to call for controlled interruptions of service,” said Lanny Nickell, COO of SPP. “It’s a last resort that we understand puts a burden on our member utilities and the customers they serve, but it’s a step we’re consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse, which could result in uncontrolled outages of even greater magnitude.”

OG&E, PSO, and Edmond Electric said Monday they would be implementing the outages. However, OG&E told KFOR later in the day that SPP has retracted their emergency declaration and customers will not see rolling outages at this time.

Customers can help by taking simple conservation steps such as:

  •   Set thermostats lower than usual, if health permits
  •   Postpone using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m. when the demand for electricity decreases
  •   Turn off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using
  •   Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible
  •    Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes

“We join SPP, and all the utility companies in Oklahoma and the region in asking customers to help by reducing their electricity use as safely as possible,” Alford said.

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