Ozark Border warns of possible rolling outages

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Ozark Border reports the next several hours are critical for the energy grid to avoid more rolling blackouts.

Officials with the city of Poplar Bluff have said Municipal Utilities will not face possible rolling outages because it is operating its own power generating plant at this time.

Poplar Bluff is running four of five generating units at the city’s plant. The units are currently running diesel fuel and producing about 20 megawatts per hour of power. The city is using about 75 megawatts per hour at peak usage.

"We are meeting our commitment with internal generation," said Bill Bach, MU general manager, who warned residents should still use energy wisely.

The electric cooperative has shared this information regarding the possibility.

Will we lose power?

At this point there is no time frame set for rolling blackouts to begin or if they will happen at all for OBEC Electric. The messages during the past few days have been an effort to help you reduce bill shock and help reduce pressure on the electrical system. If it does get to the point rolling blackouts need to be implemented, we will provide notice as soon as we have been informed. The size of the blackout area will depend on how much system load needs to be shed.

Why is it called a rolling blackout?

It is called a rolling blackout for a reason. The goal is to reduce load by impacting a minimal amount of the system for a designated amount of time and then returning power to the affected area and moving to a different area of the system. The way this will be accomplished on our systems will be by our power supplier deenergizing the entire substation and not just picking and choosing among individual members. The outage should last no longer than an hour and then the substation will be re-energized and another substation in the system will be turned off.

Why is it happening?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer for this situation other than an extreme amount of cold weather affecting a large region of the country at one time. One more thing to keep in mind is that the electrical grid is very complex and involves many parts and the aforementioned cold weather is affecting multiples of these parts at one time.


As stated earlier there has been no directive to shed load at this time, so we are only providing this information to be proactive. Rest assured that if the plan must be put into motion, we will post the notification here and, on our website, as soon as possible. We will do everything in our power to minimize the event to the best of our ability.

What can I do?

Please continue to be safe and save energy when possible. Thank you for your continued support. The employees of Ozark Border Electric Cooperative, M&A Electric Power Cooperative and Associated Electric Cooperative take pride in providing safe and reliable energy to you, the member. Together, with all of us doing our part, we will make it through this event just like we have in the past.

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