KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) — Energy companies in Missouri began implementing rolling power outages Monday in response to overwhelming demand for power during record-setting low temperatures and wind chills.
Evergy began 30 to 60-minute blackouts in certain regions Monday shortly after noon, which would then rotate to other service areas. City Utilities in Springfield and the city of Independence also implemented rolling blackouts to their customers.
The companies actions come after a request from Southwest Power Pool Inc., which oversees power distribution across several states including Kansas and Missouri, announced Monday it had exhausted its available reserve energy and directed its member utilities to implement “controlled interruptions of service to prevent further and more widespread and uncontrolled outages.”
A company executive said it was the first time the organization ever had to implement rolling blackouts.
The power blackouts come as nearly all of Missouri was gripped by temperatures that barely reached zero degrees Fahrenheit, and wind chills that in some areas registered at minus 30 F.
Roads were treacherous across the state, particularly in the Ozarks and central regions earlier Monday. Authorities pleaded with residents to stay home.
The snow was moving east across the state, with the St. Louis region forecast to get up to 7 inches of snow, the National Weather Service said. The high temperature in the region was expected to reach 7 F, with wind chills as low as minus 30 F into Tuesday.
Most schools and government offices were closed Monday for Presidents Day. Many schools announced they would also be closed or using remote learning on Tuesday.
The Missouri Senate canceled its work for the rest of the week because of the weather.
“With additional snow and ice in the forecast for much of the state, we want to be sensitive to the safety of our staff and members,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, of Columbia, wrote in a tweet.