What you should know in the midst of record cold: Planned outages, frozen pipes, energy savings

As temperatures dropped to record lows on Monday, the Omaha Public Power District said it prompted an emergency order from the Southwest Power Pool to carry out planned outages. “We have never been in this situation,” said OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke. Southwest Power Pool manages the network for OPPD, NPPD, LES in Lincoln and utilities in 14 states stretching from Texas to the Canadian border. Burke said the winter explosion, which affected much of the central United States, not only increased demand, but it also affected supply throughout the SPP system. “They have these problems that occur primarily in pan handles in Texas and Oklahoma that limit a certain amount of gas flow, and so … we see a pretty significant reduction in wind,” Burke said. On Monday, power was cut off for about 10,000 customers in Bellevue and South Omaha for an hour. According to Burke, the OPPD is warned just minutes before scheduled interruptions. He said it was all meant to prevent something much worse. “You make these planned interruptions so you don’t get a blackout,” Burke said. On Monday afternoon, the SPP released an update that reads: “After instructing its member tools to implement controlled service interruptions shortly after noon on February 15, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has restored the load to its 14-state region from 6 p.m. 14:00 Central time The network operator now has sufficient generation available to meet demand throughout its service area and to fully meet its minimum reserve requirements. “The release goes on to say:” SPP’s forecasts expect that due to high load and persistent cold weather it is likely that its system will fluctuate between EEA levels 2 and 3 over the next 48 hours and may have to direct further service interruptions if the available generation is insufficient to meet high demand. . “OPPD asked for public help through things like disconnecting things you do not use and avoiding running a washer, dryer or o washing machine so far. They also ask that people, if possible, turn down the thermostat a few degrees. It is an atmosphere repeated by the Metropolitan Utilities District, as many heating systems require both electricity and natural gas to run. “For every degree you return, it saves 1 to 3% energy, and small things make a big difference,” said MUD President Mark Doyle. Doyle said MUD is running at full capacity and meeting demand. “Record day yesterday that more gas is being sent out than ever in the history of supply,” he said. Doyle also said the planned outages through the OPPD have not affected MUD and the two utilities have worked closely. “We have our facilities at the top of the priority list for not being involved,” Doyle said of the planned interruptions. Another big concern during the cold snap? Freezing of pipes. You may be wondering if you are losing power and heat, how can you prevent it? “If you let your water seep a little, it definitely keeps the water moving,” Doyle said, “You don’t need your power at home to trickle your water.” Mark Evans, owner of Burton AC, Heating, Plumbing and more, said frozen pipes are the biggest problem they’re facing right now. In addition to letting pipes drip, he offered this advice. “Make sure you keep your garage door closed at all times. Many houses have that bathroom above the garage and it is a good place where pipes can start to freeze if the garage door is left open. We usually say all interior doors, including cabinet doors, where you know you have problems, leave them open so you can get some heat in there, ”Evans said. Evans also recommended using heating tapes on your pipes. He said that if you notice that your water stops running, it is likely that your pipes may have frozen. His advice then: Turn off the largest water source.

As temperatures dropped to record lows on Monday, the Omaha Public Power District said it prompted an emergency order from the Southwest Power Pool to carry out planned outages.

“We have never been in this situation,” said OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke.

Southwest Power Pool manages the network for OPPD, NPPD, LES in Lincoln and utilities in 14 states stretching from Texas to the Canadian border.

Burke said the winter explosion, which affected much of the central United States, not only increased demand, but it also affected supply throughout the SPP system.

“They have these problems that occur primarily in pan handles in Texas and Oklahoma that limit a certain amount of gas flow, and so … we see a pretty significant reduction in wind,” Burke said.

On Monday, power was cut off for about 10,000 customers in Bellevue and South Omaha for an hour.

According to Burke, the OPPD is warned just minutes before scheduled interruptions. He said it was all meant to prevent something much worse.

“You make these planned interruptions so you don’t get a blackout,” Burke said.

Monday afternoon, SPP released one update reading:

“After instructing its member tools to implement controlled service interruptions shortly after noon on February 15, Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has restored the load to its 14-state region from 14:00 Central Time. The network operator now has enough production available to meet demand throughout its service area and to fully meet its minimum reserve requirements.

The release goes on to say:

“SPP’s forecasts predict that due to high load and persistent cold weather, it is likely that its system will fluctuate between EEA levels 2 and 3 over the next 48 hours and may have to direct further service interruptions if it available production is insufficient to meet the high demand. “

OPPD asked for public help through things like disconnecting things you do not use and avoiding running the washer, dryer or dishwasher until further notice.

They also ask that people, if possible, turn down the thermostat a few degrees.

It is an atmosphere repeated by the Metropolitan Utilities District, as many heating systems require both electricity and natural gas to run.

“For every degree you return, it saves 1 to 3% energy, and small things make a big difference,” said MUD President Mark Doyle.

Doyle said MUD is running at full capacity and meeting demand.

“Record day yesterday that more gas is being sent out than ever in the history of supply,” he said.

Doyle also said the planned outages through the OPPD have not affected MUD and the two utilities have worked closely.

“We have our facilities at the top of the priority list for not being involved,” Doyle said of the planned interruptions.

Another big concern during the cold snap? Freezing of pipes.

You may be wondering if you are losing power and heat, how can you prevent it?

“If you let the water seep a little, it certainly keeps the water moving,” Doyle said, “you don’t need your power at home to seep your water.”

Mark Evans, owner of Burton AC, Heating, Plumbing and more, said frozen pipes are the biggest problem they are facing right now.

In addition to letting pipes drip, he offered this advice.

“Make sure you keep your garage door closed at all times. Many houses have that bathroom above the garage and it’s a good place where pipes can start to freeze if the garage door is left open. We usually say all interior doors, including cupboard doors, where you know you’re having problems, leave them open so you can get some heat in there, ”Evans said.

Evans also recommended using heating tapes on your pipes.

He said that if you notice that your water stops running, it is likely that your pipes may have frozen. His advice then: Turn off the main water source.

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