Cold temps

Power outages interrupting online network connections and wireless internet forced all classes to be canceled Feb. 16. Evergy is working to restore power in their grid area.

Intermittent power outages, or rolling outages, have stopped in Evergy’s power grid for the time being, according to the energy services provider. Evergy is working to restore power in areas that have experienced extended outage times.

After the University canceled in-person classes Feb. 15 and 16, classes were intended to be held online instead. Only after the rolling power outages throughout Maryville began affecting wireless internet connections, did the University cancel all classes Feb. 16.

Andrew Baker, Evergy’s senior communications manager, said that while the Southwest Power Pool has lifted its order of intermittent outages, the company is still operating on emergency energy alerts. Additional outages are possible if energy demand rises higher than supply. 

The rolling outages are a measure taken by electric companies to prevent situations where power is out for long periods of time, like in Texas where at least 12 people have died

“That’s one reason we are doing these short energy reductions, to put us in a position where we are not facing that same situation,” Baker said. 

The goal of the Southwest Power Pool, which oversees electrical operations in 17 states including Missouri, was to avoid large, uncontrolled, extended power outages throughout the region. Due to extreme temperatures that are affecting regional power supply — and even greater energy demand — implementing controlled, temporary emergency electricity reductions reduce that risk.

Baker said the Southwest Power Pool noted a peak energy demand time of 9-10 a.m. this morning, when outages were also at their peak. Now, the company says outages should be less frequent as power is being restored. 

“We are doing everything we can right now to reduce the number of people impacted,” Baker said. “Hopefully this is not a situation that we have to revisit later in the day. We know this is a very stressful situation, a straining situation for our customers, and we are just asking for people to have patience.”

The rolling power outages affecting Maryville began Feb. 15, and were originally expected to continue through Feb. 17. Outages conducted by Evergy were expected to last 30 to 60 minutes, but many took to social media to share that their outage lasted more than an hour. Program Director at KXCV-KRNW, the NPR affiliate station based on campus, Patty Holly replied to a University Police tweet and said her outage lasted for more than two hours. 

Customers who experience a power outage do not need to report the outage, Baker said, unless the outage lasts more than an hour. In that case, Maryville customers should call 888-544-4852.

The University Police Department’s Twitter page has worked to keep students up to date on local power restoration, and how the situation affects Northwest’s operations.

Junior Reba Bowen replied to UPD’s tweet announcing the controlled power outages, saying that her power had been out for over an hour. UPD responded by checking with Evergy on when the power would be restored.

Evergy announced at 10:15 a.m. the rolling outages order made by the Southwest Power Pool was lifted and outages will be suspended for now. 

“Power should be coming back online soon for those impacted,” Evergy announced via Twitter. “We thank you for conserving energy and ask that you continue to do so.”

Evergy customers are still encouraged to conserve energy to avoid future need for intermittent outages. Best practices include setting thermostats to 65-68 degrees, avoid using space heaters, closing blinds and shades to reduce heat loss, unplugging unused appliances and using large appliances in non-peak hours — between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

According to Evergy’s outage map, as of 11:30 a.m. there are no power outages affecting Maryville.

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