Bitter cold strains power grid across Midwest
Heather Meade Staff Writer
DARKE COUNTY – According to a report from the Associated Press, the below-zero temperatures and 20 mile per hour winds are putting a strain on the Midwest’s power grid.
A communications representative from Dayton Power and Light stated that 108 of their customers were without power in Darke County as of Tuesday afternoon, though “that changes minute-to-minute.”
“The region is experiencing continued extremely cold temperatures – the coldest weather we have had in 20 years. A number of outages are a result of cold weather issues as well as accidents taking down utility poles damaging lines and equipment,” DP&L released in a statement Tuesday afternoon.
More than 11,000 DP&L customers were affected from Sunday to Tuesday, DP&L reported. PJM Interconnections, which coordinates the movements of wholesale electricity for 13 states, including Ohio, and the District of Columbia, reported expectations that power supplies might get tight across the region due to record-breaking cold temperatures and many energy companies reaching their peak loads for winter-time.
DP&L reached their all-time high winter peak load on Monday with a load of approximately 3,200 megawatts.
“At current generation levels and if customers are mindful of their electric usage, we do not anticipate shortages in the DP&L service territory,” DP&L stated. “Record cold weather is driving electricity use to a new winter record for peak demand. We are experiencing increased loads due to the extreme cold. We set our all-time winter peak load of approximately 3,200 megawatts on Monday. The previous winter peak occurred Jan. 18, 1994 when the temperature was -17 degrees.”
DP&L suggested residents have a winter storm kit which includes an emergency radio, a three-day water supply for each member of the family, non-perishable food, flashlights, extra warm clothing and blankets, and medical supplies.
“I say, take the lessons learned from this storm…and apply them to the next,” said Lynne Gump, executive director of the American Red Cross – Darke County Chapter. “I think this storm was well forecast and not as bad as originally thought. I think because of that, people were more prepared.”
In case of power outages, residents should plan ahead with a safe, warm place to stay should their heat or electric be off for an extended period of time, DP&L representatives asserted.
If residents do experience power outages they should contact the DP&L hotline at 877-468-8243. If you see a downed line, report it immediately and stay away from it. Assume all power lines are live and energized.
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