(Undated) -- Rolling blackouts are being implemented in parts of Nebraska, including the Omaha metro, to help conserve power during these bitter cold days.
Omaha Public Power District tweeted Monday that it had been ordered to implement rolling outages, advising “power should be out for about an hour total.” Omaha Public Power District’s outage portal on its website was down early Monday afternoon. OPPD says the extreme cold is currently causing a strain on their electric system. The power district says their regional reliability coordinator is directing its utilities in 17 states, including OPPD, to curtail energy usage in order to balance supply and demand.
OPPD says customers may experience planned periodic power outages until the weather normalizes over the next couple of days.
Monday afternoon, OPPD released a statement about the outages:
We know this is inconvenient and difficult. Please know that only in an emergency would we intentionally disconnect power. For more information and updates, visit stormandoutage.com. Thank you for your support in this time of need.
Many of our larger customers have assisted this effort by curtailing their usage, and many of you have done your part to conserve energy, and this has helped. The frigid temperatures have led to record winter demand in energy across the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) footprint, which stretches from the Canadian border to Texas. The entire region is experiencing these temperatures, and it is straining the system.
The men and women at OPPD have worked around the clock to ensure our generation has been producing power. However, we have been directed by our regional transmission organization, SPP – of which OPPD is a member – to begin shedding load in our service territory. Other member utilities across the Midwest are also receiving this request.
At 12:09 p.m., controlled, coordinated outages began in the Omaha metro, beginning in the south metro area. The outages are based on the amount of load to the system and are conducted in a systematic, gridded approach. No area is favored over another. For more details, visitstormandoutage.com.
We understand this is an inconvenience to you, your families and your businesses. Please know these measures are being taken now in accordance with regulatory agencies and direction from SPP. Conducting these coordinated outages now will allow us to avoid unplanned and more prolonged outages later.
An OPPD board member tweeted Monday afternoon that all but 2,000 Bellevue customers should be restored, but did not have a time frame on when the issue in Sarpy County would be resolved.
OPPD, the Metropolitan Utilities District, and Nebraska Public Power District asked customers to voluntarily reduce electricity usage starting overnight Sunday and continuing through Tuesday as dangerously cold weather descended on the region.
Rotating planned outages are typically limited to 30 to 60 minutes — but may last longer — before being rotated to another location.
The same requirement fell on the Lincoln Electric System, which said Monday it would start rotating planned power outages due to “an unprecedented energy demand.” Outages were paused in the afternoon, but LES warned the situation was “fluid” and the rolling outages might again be implemented. “This type of demand reduction is only used as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric grid,” LES said in a release.