Evergy preparing for blackouts overnight into tomorrow

Evergy expecting rolling blackouts overnight.
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 10:35 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Evergy said the Southwest Power Pool has them on standby with the most likely time-frame being midnight to 11 a.m. and with very little notice.

This, after thousands of people were in the dark Monday afternoon, and even more Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday, Evergy said about 10% of their customers, more than 200,000, were impacted by today’s outages. They ended by noon, but as the cool continues – more blackouts could in store. SPP is saying the potential for rolling blackouts continues through Friday and depends on power use.

Savanna Self, an Oakland resident, was among those in the dark when Evergy began a second round of rolling blackouts by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“I have two daughters and we both just snuggled in bed. My fiancé and I and the two girls,” she said. “It would be nice if we knew what areas were going to be affected so we had like a heads up of like charge your phone and stuff, because we had like no heads up at all. It just happened.”

The move helped the Southwest Power Pool shore up dwindling reserves, and service was back by late morning, but by 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night, SPP issued a level two energy emergency alert.

Evergy’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Chuck Caisley said “We’re having a weather event that meteorologists say that we haven’t seen in 85 years across the Midwest of the United States and really this is a national issue.”

“What I would tell folks is that the grid continues to be operating under extreme duress,” he said.

Shawnee county emergency management is ready to step in if needed. Planning Section Chief for Shawnee Co. Emergency Management Errin Mahan said people should have a plan.

“There’s always a potential for something to go wrong when it does come back on especially when we’re looking at 30 degree below wind chills,” he said.

He said it’s important to have food, water, blankets, and multiple layers of clothing prepped. Along with having access to functional flashlights, not candles, ready.

“Be prepared prior to your power going out and knowing what it is that you’re going to do when and if the power does go out,” said Mahan. “Whether it be the blackouts or whether it be a natural disaster or any other emergency that might happen.”

Evergy said it gets only 10 to 15 minutes notice from the SPP when service interruptions are needed, so they can’t notify specific customers they’ll be in the dark.

Caisley said they were in communication with SPP for weeks about the weather coming in and were preparing for something like this but did not expect the large blackouts.

He made sure to thank and recognize the workers trying to get everything back to normal at a virtual press conference Tuesday afternoon.

13 News continues to follow the rolling blackouts.

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