Record cold forces blackouts in Kansas

Operators of the regional power grid again ordered utilities to implement rolling blackouts Tuesday morning to conserve natural gas and electricity as bitterly cold temperatures plunged to double-digit negatives.

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February 17, 2021 - 8:41 AM

TOPEKA — Operators of the regional power grid again ordered utilities to implement rolling blackouts Tuesday morning to conserve natural gas and electricity as bitterly cold temperatures plunged to double-digit negatives.

The rare, emergency action was a temporary response to skyrocketing natural gas prices, high demand for power and an unprecedented week of extreme wintry conditions for the middle swath of the country. The National Weather Service office in Topeka recorded an overnight low of -21, the seventh-coldest day ever, and a new record low for the third straight day.

Low temperatures combined with moisture created problems with wind turbines, access to natural gas and the burning of coal across the Southwest Power Pool, which manages a 17-state power grid.

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