LES says prepare for planned outages for the next 36 hours

(Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune)
Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 12:44 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 15, 2021 at 4:48 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Electric Systems says that power is restored to all customers in Lincoln currently, but that people should be prepared for planned outages for the next 36 hours.

LES started rolling outages around 12:10 p.m. on Monday due to “an unprecedented energy demand.”, and put a pause on them around 1:40 p.m.

The pause is due to the Southwest Power Pool, which encompasses the majority of energy suppliers in the Central U.S., being brought back to a sustainable level.

“LES stopped controlled outages after only going through two cycles. While LES hasn’t received additional requests from the Southwest Power Pool to curtail, we ask customers to remain prepared for rotating outages over the next 36 hours,” LES said in a release.

LES told 10/11 NOW that they are unable to give customers a heads up on where an outage could occur next due to short notice given to them by SPP.

When SPP needs a certain amount of energy saved, LES is asked to pick an area that will preserve roughly that amount, according to a spokesperson for LES.

“Customers may experience an outage more than once in the next 36 hours. Locations of controlled outages are determined by load shed requirements from SPP, which happens in minutes.”

“This is a fluid situation. Rotating planned outages – also known as rolling blackouts – began at 12:10 PM today. Right now planned outages are paused, but we are asking customers to be prepared. Any customers with medical devices should charge those if outages start up again,” LES tweeted.

LES stated earlier Monday that rotating planned outages are typically limited to 30 to 60 minutes — but may last longer — before being rotated to another location. LES asks customers to continue to voluntarily and safely implement one or more energy-saving measures listed on LES.com.

“Due to an unprecedented energy demand during record low temperatures, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), Lincoln Electric System’s regional reliability coordinator, has notified utilities within its regional footprint that energy curtailments are required.

SPP declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 Monday around 11 a.m., which means utilities across the SPP region were instructed to begin rotating planned outages because there wasn’t enough power available to keep up with customer demand. However effective Monday 2 p.m., SPP said it entered an EEA Level 2.

Southeast Power Pool said they now have enough generation available to meet demand throughout its service territory. However they said their system will likely fluctuate between EEA levels 2 and 3 over the next 48 hours and may have to direct further interruptions of service.

“If you are without power for more than one hour, it may be an outage outside of this situation. Please report your outage at LES.com/report or 1-888-365-2412. If you require medical devices or other technology, be sure to follow your backup plan. Energy conservation is critical during this time. LES asks customers to continue to voluntarily and safely implement one or more energy-saving measures in your home or business listed on LES.com. Updates will be provided on LES’ Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day and evening.”

When it comes to possibly shutting down power to places like hospitals, LES said they do their “best to avoid anything critical like shutting down power to hospital systems.” LES those places are still on the list but are at the bottom.

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