City Utilities discuss plans on how to prevent future blackouts

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– One week ago, Springfield residents were looking at zero degrees and rolling blackouts. Now, we’re moving towards the warmest day of the year.

City Utilities and the regional grid are officially back to normal operations, but CU said it won’t easily forget the energy crisis we faced during record-breaking temperatures. CU also said despite the forced rolling blackouts Springfield faired better than others on the regional grid and the company is coming up with new processes for notifying customers during an emergency.

“So we now have that ability to hit each feeder, should we need to,” said Joel Alexander with City Utilities.

Alexander said Springfield faired better than other cities partly due to CU’s top 26 natural gas users cutting back.

“When other communities might have been reliant on natural gas only, we did have the capacity on both of the coal units, plus the two peaking turbines that operated on fuel oil,” said Alexander. “They had the ability to run on natural gas, but we would not have been able to run them had they not been more flexible on that.”

CU said it is too early to know how next months’ utility bill will be affected, but low-income families do have options through OACAC.

“Over the weekend, we had quite a few calls people knowing that their bills going to be high,” said Tommy Trammel, LIHEAAP director. “We will go in, negotiate with the utility vendors, and pay the amount needed to get utilities restored or to keep them from being terminated. We’re able to help with natural gas, electricity, propane, wood.”

Trammel said OACAC can provide one-time assistance whether it’s to catch up on past utility bills or if you’re at risk of having your power shut off.

“It’s just best that people right now, call our line 417- 864-3460 – leave a message, and we will try to help them,” said Trammel.

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