Billings power outage Feb. 16, 2021

LIBERTY UTILITIES OUTAGE MAP showed more than 1,300 electric customers in Billings were without power as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021.

A widespread power outage in western Christian County has ended, according to officials with Liberty Utilities.

However, one of southwest Missouri’s largest power providers still has more than 10,000 customers without power as of 11:35 a.m. Southwest Power Pool, which supplies Liberty, Nixa Utilities and electric cooperatives such as Ozark Electric and White River Valley Electric, among others, announced that controlled service interruptions, or “rolling blackouts,” can be halted. However, utility customers across the Ozarks and Christian County are still urged to take measures to conserve power consumption in their homes and businesses.

“This is a rapidly evolving emergency,” Liberty Utilities Program Manager Jillian Curtis said in an email to reporters.

In the event that the Southwest Power Pool needs to recommend service interruptions for utilities across Missouri and the Midwest, those interruptions will occur in one-hour blocks of time. Utility providers will shut down transmission systems, which will cause outages in small parts of their service areas.

“We will work to keep the duration of these interruptions down to approximately one hour per block. We will do all we can to minimize the impact. Because of the rapidly changing nature of this emergency, we will not be able to alert customers individually regarding required service interruptions,” Curtis said.

Power customers are encouraged to be prepared for an outage at any time.

Original story (9:08 a.m. CST Feb. 16, 2021)

More than 1,300 Liberty Utilities power customers in Christian County are without electricity as of 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Liberty Utilities reported an outage in the western Christian County panhandle that includes Billings and parts of Clever. The outage is caused by extreme cold and snow, and is not part of a rolling blackout or a planned outage.

The temperature in Billings, according to the National Weather Service, was -6 degrees Fahrenheit at 8:45 a.m. The forecast calls for the temperature to rise above 0 at about 10:30 a.m., with a forecasted high of 15 degrees by 3 p.m.

Additionally, about 340 customers in Ozark were without power at 9 a.m.

You can report an outage to Liberty Utilities by calling 1-800-206-2300. More than 6,000 customers in southwest Missouri were without power as of 9 a.m., according to the company's website, which was experiencing some interruptions. It is unclear how many of those outages were scheduled and how many are unplanned outages caused by snow and freezing temperatures causing equipment breakdowns.

“Liberty customers may be impacted by required controlled service interruptions,” a statement from the utility company reads. “Should additional service interruptions be required, we will interrupt service in blocks throughout our electric system. We will work to keep the duration of these interruptions down to approximately one hour per block.”

Power customers across Christian County, including those with Liberty Utilities, Nixa Utilities, White River Valley Electric Cooperative and Ozark Electric Cooperative, are being asked to conserve energy throughout the day and night on Feb. 16. 

Suggestions for conserving energy include:  

- Set thermostats to 65 degrees or as low as comfortable. Customers who are elderly or have medical conditions complicated by the cold should not lower their thermostat.

- Turn off and unplug computers, monitors, chargers, printers, and televisions during periods of non-use.

- Avoid using major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers.

- Turn down the setting on your hot water heater to 120 degrees.

- Turn off nonessential lights.

- Postpone all nonessential energy use.

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