snow sidewalks

Snow covers the sidewalks on the Missouri State University campus.

On Feb. 15, City Utilities of Springfield announced that as a result of the natural gas shortage, rolling blackouts may be implemented across the city. 

“These (blackouts) will last from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and will be executed in different areas of the city,” a City Utilities Facebook post said. “All areas of the City Utilities electric service territory may potentially be impacted.” 

Gary Gibson, general manager of City Utilities, said during a press conference on Feb. 16, City Utilities was ordered by Southwest Power Pool, a power cooperation that City Utilities is part of, to reduce power load.

Gibson said they are no longer in this situation, so more blackouts will not be rolled out for the time being. But, this is a developing situation and is being updated on an hourly basis. 

Gibson said blackouts do not interrupt vital businesses, such as hospitals, jails and nursing homes. 

The natural gas shortage is a result of the extreme weather conditions in Texas and Oklahoma. Natural gas wells are freezing up and natural gas is not being transported to southwest Missouri.

Gibson said they did not have residential issues when the power came back for residents affected by the brief blackout. 

Recently, Springfield’s City Utilities stopped using five engines at the James River Power Station. Gibson said the five engines would have made no difference if they were operable. The engines were powered by natural gas and City Utilities would not have been able to get them to run. 

“There are still two peaking combustion engines in operation at the James River Power Station that are running on fuel oil,” Gibson said. 

Gibson continued to say, natural gas is a critical generation fuel so anyone can be affected even if they do not use natural gas.

This is a developing situation and City Utilities of Springfield will update on an hourly basis if a rolling blackout is required again on social media.


Follow Desiree Nixon on Twitter, @DesireeNixon17

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