2021 Winter Weather Event – Timeline
About Peak Usage Alerts
On February 13, 2021, extreme weather conditions resulted in unprecedented circumstances, with high natural gas and electricity demand, and limited supply of available natural gas. Freezing issues affected natural gas wells in the southwest, resulting in extremely high natural gas market prices, as well as reducing our ability to transport our stored natural gas reserves.
City Utilities was directed by Southwest Power Pool (SPP), our electric regional transmission organization, to activate emergency conservation plans. Not only was City Utilities impacted by this situation, but a number of power generating utilities throughout 14 states and all utilities are under similar reduction requirements.
SPP Energy Emergency Alerts (EEA) have several levels.
- EEA – Level 1 – Declared when all available resources have been committed to meet obligations, and SPP is at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.
- EEA – Level 2 – Declared when SPP can no longer provide expected energy requirements and is an Energy Deficient Entity, or when SPP foresees or has implemented procedures up to, but excluding, interruption of firm load commitments.
- EEA – Level 3 – At this level, SPP is utilizing operating reserves such that it is carrying reserves below the required minimum and has initiated assistance through the Reserve Sharing Group. Declared when SPP foresees or has implemented firm load obligation interruption. Before requesting an EEA 3, SPP will have already provided the appropriate internal notifications to its Market Participants.
Timeline of Events
February 20, 2021
(10:00 p.m.) SPP returned to normal operations for the entire SPP balancing authority area, signaling it has enough generation to meet demand and available reserves and foresees no extreme or abnormal threats to reliability.
February 19, 2021
(9:20 a.m.) SPP downgraded from EEA Level 1 and is no longer under an energy emergency alert. Due to continuing high loads & other impacts of severe cold weather, SPP remains in a period of conservative operations until 10 p.m. CT, Feb. 20, for the entire SPP balancing authority area.
February 18, 2021
(9:30 a.m.) SPP downgraded from EEA Level 1 to a conservative operations status. Due to continuing high loads and other severe cold weather implications, it will remain in a period of conservative operations until 10 p.m., Feb. 20, for the entire SPP balancing authority area.
(6:25 p.m.) SPP has declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 1 for its entire 14-state balancing authority area, meaning all available generation resources in its 14-state balancing authority area are committed to meet forecasted electricity demand.
February 17, 2021
(10:46 a.m.) SPP remains at an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 2 since 6:28 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 16, having reached our morning peak of over 38,600 MW around 9:00 a.m. Central time on Wednesday, Feb. 17. SPP continues to urge all homes and businesses throughout our 14-state region to conserve electricity, but are not directing any interruptions of service at this time. The public should follow their service providers’ directions regarding local outages, tips for conservation and safety.
(1:15 p.m.) SPP has declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 1 for its entire 14-state balancing authority area. Generation is currently sufficient to serve system-wide demand across the region and to fully satisfy operating reserve requirements.
(6:20 p.m.) SPP declared an escalation to EEA Level 2. SPP directed its member companies (like CU) to issue public conservation appeals.
(10:59 p.m.) SPP downgraded to an EEA Level 1. While no longer an Energy Deficient Entity, all available resources were committed to meet obligations, and SPP remained at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.
February 16, 2021
(6:15 a.m.) Southwest Power Pool declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3. Level 3 is declared when demand for electricity is greater than the generating capacity. Rolling blackouts are possible.
(7:15 a.m.) We again have been told to reduce our electric load in the Southwest Power Pool. This is a combined group of power generating utilities throughout 14 states and all utilities are under similar reduction requirements.
Each blackout will last from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and will be executed in different areas of the city. All areas of the City Utilities electric service territory may potentially be impacted.
We are asking you to continue to please reduce and conserve on natural gas and electricity in your home.
(10 a.m.) Watch the live stream news conference on SGF City View: https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/city-utilities-alert-february-16-2021/
(11:30 a.m.) Southwest Power Pool downgraded the Energy Emergency Alert to Level 2.
(12 p.m.) Blackouts are not affecting Springfield at this time. If you are experiencing a power outage, please call 1-888-863-9001. While the order has been rescinded for now, please continue to be prepared as blackouts could resume at any time.
(12:30 p.m.) Southwest Power Pool downgraded the Energy Emergency Alert to Level 1. This is declared when SPP has the resources they need to meet the needs of the grid.
(6:28 p.m.) Southwest Power Pool has issued an Energy Emergency Alert, Level 2. We are asking the community to please continue to conserve electricity and natural gas.
February 15, 2021
(7:22 a.m.) Southwest Power Pool declared an Energy Emergency Alert Level 2, which is declared when conservation of natural gas and electricity is essential.
(10:08 a.m.) SPP declares EEA Level 3, signaling that its operating reserves are below the required minimum.
(12:30 p.m.) We have been told to reduce our electric load in the Southwest Power Pool. This is a combined group of power generating utilities throughout 14 states and all utilities are under similar reduction requirements.
This process has started at this time.
We will begin what is commonly known as a rolling blackout in sections of Springfield. These will last from 30 to 60 minutes in duration and will be executed in different areas of the city. All areas of the City Utilities electric service territory may potentially be impacted.
Additional information on this unprecedented situation will be provided as details are finalized.
(1:30 p.m.) Watch the live stream news conference on SGF City View: https://cityview.springfieldmo.gov/livestream/
(2:00 p.m.) SPP has restored load to its 14-state region. EEA Level has been downgraded to EEA Level 2. City Utilities stops rolling blackouts for emergency load shedding.
(7:30 p.m.) We’ll be live with a news conference tomorrow (2/16) at 10 a.m. with Gary Gibson and representatives from other community partner organizations to give an update on the status of the peak demand event.
February 14, 2021
(7:30 p.m.) All natural gas and electric customers have or will receive a call from us tonight.
We want you to know that we, and utilities across the region, are experiencing severe supply shortages due to the extreme winter weather. While we are doing everything we can to ensure reliable service, we are asking everyone to reduce the use of natural gas and electricity as much as possible through Friday, February 19, or until the weather pattern changes.
We will keep you updated if additional actions are needed. Thank you!
Read more >>bit.ly/peakalert
February 13, 2021
Extreme weather conditions are placing a high demand on natural gas and electricity supplies and costs throughout the region.
Natural gas wells are freezing in the southwest causing prices to rise from $3 per dekatherm to almost $400 per dekatherm. While we purchase less than 25% from the market, this will likely impact your future utility bill.
Here are some steps you can take to help reduce the impact on your utility bill and help the community:
- Turn down your thermostat at least 2 degrees. 68 degrees is the suggested average setting for winter.
- Limit the use of natural gas fireplaces.
- Limit the use of plug-in space heaters.
- Turn down the temperature setting on your water heater.
- Look for other opportunities in your home to reduce your use of natural gas and electricity during this extreme weather.
Learn more about the steps we’re taking to help lessen the impact to you >> bit.ly/peakalert