Planned power outages due to winter storm — now deferred in some areas

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Utility companies were instructed to do "controlled outages"

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ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — In Arkansas, electric companies that service the state did rolling power outages in an effort to conserve electricity, per the request of the agency that manages the electric grid for the central US.

The City of Siloam Springs Electric Department turned off select substations at 1:15 p.m. for about 90 minutes. This planned power outage “may affect some traffic lights,” according to a Facebook statement made by the Siloam Springs Police Department. SSPD created the post to make people aware of the situation.

Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) interrupted service to parts of Arkansas, such as in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Lincoln and Rogers. The company has nearly 123,000 customers in the state. Monday’s controlled power outage impacted more than 7,000 customers and happened between the hours of 12:46 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The areas affected by the controlled outages will be rotated so people are not without service for “more than a few hours whenever possible,” the company said. Overall, all controlled outages by SWEPCO ended at 4:16 p.m.

The “rolling power outages” came at the direction of Southwest Power Pool (SPP). This agency manages the electric grid and wholesale power market for 14 states in the central U.S.

SPP declared an emergency alert at 10 a.m., Monday, and requested agencies to “implement controlled interruptions of service effective immediately.” SPP declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA Level 3) because its operating reserves were below the required minimum, according to a company statement.

On Monday, February 15, Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG+E) stated they were directed by Southwest Power Pool (SPP.org) to “initiate temporary service interruptions to manage regional system load and avoid protracted power outages.” The company asked customers to “conserve power to help the region navigate this current situation and minimize further interruptions.

About four hours later, OG+E reversed course and halted the rolling power outages. That’s because the SPP lowered its emergency level, to a Level 2. “However, we remain ready to respond if needed,” OG+E spokesperson Brian Alford told KNWA/FOX24.

SPP posted on its Twitter account that it’s currently inaccessible due to high traffic volume — that was as of 3 p.m.

OG+E serves more than 800,000 customers in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The company is headquartered in Oklahoma City and has been in operation since 1902, according to the company’s website.

OG+E ARKANSAS SERVICE AREA

  • Alma
  • Altus
  • Barling
  • Branch
  • Charleston
  • Central City
  • Chester
  • Coal Hill
  • Denning
  • Dyer
  • Fort Smith
  • Hartman
  • Lamar
  • Lavaca
  • Morrison Bluff
  • Mountainburg
  • Mulberry
  • Ozark
  • Ratcliff
  • Scranton
  • Subiaco
  • Van Buren
  • Winslow

Entergy is asking for its customers to voluntarily reduce electricity usage today (Monday) between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Entergy’s coordinator,  Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) South Region is under “emergency operations” and has made the request. MISO oversees a pool of electricity generators/users from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

“MISO is responsible for monitoring the portion of the electric grid it oversees and providing instructions to its members regarding actions needed to maintain reliability in that portion of the grid,” according to an Entergy statement.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this request may cause,” said Kurt Castleberry, director of Resource Planning and Market Operations, “but the extreme temperatures for consecutive days are driving up electricity usage. This is an unusual situation driven by extreme weather conditions much of the country is experiencing. We are working to respond and bring the electric system back to a normal operational state as soon as possible.”

Castleberry said this reduction of electricity request does not apply to elderly customers and those with special health concerns.

On Sunday, 7,000 Entergy customers had their services disrupted.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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