‘Bitter, dangerous, arctic’ chill disrupts power grid

Public officials pleaded Monday for Kansans to turn thermostats down and conserve electricity as utilities warned that severe cold would force coordinated power outages across the Midwest.

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February 16, 2021 - 10:26 AM

TOPEKA — Public officials pleaded Monday for Kansans to turn thermostats down and conserve electricity as utilities warned that severe cold would force coordinated power outages across the Midwest.

Gov. Laura Kelly declared a state of emergency Sunday in anticipation of sub-zero temperatures and wind chills that reached the -30s. The extreme conditions knocked wind turbines and natural gas plants off the grid as power consumptions soared, prompting concerns about skyrocketing natural gas supplies and an inability to meet demand.

Evergy, which serves eastern Kansas and western Missouri, announced plans Monday afternoon to begin shutting off power for rotating blocks of customers for 30-60 minutes at a time. The rolling blackouts were directed by the Southwest Power Pool, which markets the power supply for a 17-state region.

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