Around 100,000 Evergy customers have been impacted by rolling blackouts for a second straight day after receiving word from the region’s power grid, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) that further temporary outages were needed.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Evergy Senior Vice President for Marketing and Public Affairs Chuck Caisley explained why the controlled outages continue during a time when the need is also high.
“What the Southwest Power Pool and Evergy are trying to achieve is by taking people off in smaller blocks, for a temporary emergency power outage, we are hoping to avoid what they’re seeing in Texas and other areas of the United States where they’re having blackouts and millions of people out for multiple hours and/or days,” he said.
Caisley says Evergy’s power supply is sufficient to meet demand. As for why customers haven’t received advance notice about these blackouts, Caisley says Evergy doesn’t always know when the outages will be required.
“Once we get that order to reduce demand in our service territory, we literally have minutes to be able to make the necessary changes to grid operations and reduce that demand. We’re talking a 10 to 15 minute window, to reduce the demand,” he said.
When deciding where to implement the blackouts, Caisley says they look at their entire territory and choose places that will keep the grid stable locally and regionally.
The SPP issued an emergency alert level 3 for the second straight day — the first time in its history, according to Caisley. During his updates Tuesday, he continued to stress that Evergy at no point has been in jeopardy of not being able to fulfill its customers’ energy demands.
“We have had enough generation at our nuclear, coal, natural gas and wind facilities to meet the demands of our customers,” he said.
Caisley says the SPP set an all time peak demand record for the winter time of 44 gigawatts.
“To put that in perspective, Evergy’s peak demand was right around 8 gigawatts, and we very well may have set a record for our winter peak demand as well,” he said.
Many school districts and government offices around the region closed Tuesday in response. Temperatures are expected to gradually warm up by the weekend.
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