Rolling blackouts have stopped, for now, outages still possible

JOPLIN, Mo. – Local electric providers have been told they can stop rolling blackouts, at least, for now.

After rolling blackouts this morning, utility providers are getting a break from the Southwest Power Pool, but, they warn, things could still change at anytime. Kelli Price with Liberty Utilities says “So we are at SPP Emergency, Energy Emergency Level One, however, we’re not out of this yet, so, for customers, first and foremost we just would ask them to plan for a possible outage.”

While rolling blackouts have stopped, price says there is a method to how they’re executed. “We will do it in blocks, throughout our service area, and we will work really hard to keep those to no longer than an hour.”

As for what’s been leading to the rolling blackouts and the peak alert, it’s a number of factors. “So, all of those combined, the severe weather, the fuel supply shortage and peak demand is resulting in a situation where the SPP has to make sure we have enough energy to keep the lights on and the heaters going.”

Despite the stop to the rolling blackouts, power outages can still happen during this weather on a localized level, and Price says there are some things you can do to be prepared. “Simple things like making sure your phone is charged so you have a way to communicate, making sure you have water available, either bottled water or put water in a pitcher so you have some water available, you certainly want to check batteries in things like your radio and your clocks so that those are working and functioning, gather blankets and warm clothing so should the power go out you can gather in a single room and you can shut the doors to keep the heat in.”

The other issue arising during these rolling blackouts is how to tell if your outage is part of a planned blackout, or if it’s something unrelated. We asked Price how you can tell the difference. “I think the best for our customers to do if they lose power, give us an hour, hour and a half, if it’s not restored, we definitely need to have that reported, it may be outside of a controlled situation.”

The Joplin Police Department also wants to remind folks with the possibility of additional power outages if you come across a traffic signal that is not working, you need to treat it as a four-way stop.