SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND)- City Water Light and Power is preparing for controlled outages this summer, to avoid a total blackout in the city of Springfield. It comes as the Midwest is facing an energy shortage.
During the heat of summer, neighbors may be asked to turn off their air conditioning and major appliances.
“During the cooling season, your air conditioner is usually- for a typical property- is your highest usage. So you can turn your thermostat up to 78 degrees. You could delay any major appliance use, delay laundry, using the washing machine, the dishwasher,” Amber Sabin, Supervisor of Consumer Services with CWLP, told WAND News.
Cities across the midwest are being asked to cut back as coal, gas and nuclear power plants shut down faster than new energy sources can be brought online.
“The regional grid, which CWLP is connected to, could see some shortfalls during peak times,” Sabin explained.
Neighbors should prepare to take action during peak times, like weekday afternoons, if CWLP issues an Orange Level warning.
If not enough people act, CWLP could be forced to entirely shut off power for 15 minutes at a time.
“And then red is the notice that there’s still a shortfall, in order to avoid a total blackout we need to implement a protective power outages across the city,” Sabin added.
City leaders told CWLP at city council Tuesday night, they’re concerned about vulnerable residents and key infrastructure.
“I’ve heard from Ed Curtis, from Memorial, they’re very concerned. They cannot do surgeries with a one-source electricity. There has to be exemptions for the hospitals if possible,” Alderman Chuck Redpath, of Ward 1, said during the meeting.
“Some of these elders can’t even walk. So they can’t go down any stairs. So if its going to be an hour or so, knowing if you’ve got to go grocery shopping or doctors appointments- do that earlier in the daytime,” Alderwoman Lakeisha Purchase, of Ward 5, added.
But CWLP said without these actions there could be permanent damage to the electrical grid.
CWLP has launched a website where advisory levels will be posted. There, neighbors can also learn when their power is expected to be restored, if their neighborhood is part of a rolling blackout.