More than one person has remarked over the past few days that 2021 seems to be trying to give 2020 some competition in terms of being a difficult year.
We’re in the midst of some of the coldest weather we’ve experienced in a decade, and now we’ve experienced multiple planned power outages. We are aware of at least one outage on Monday and what appeared to be several outages at different locations across town Tuesday morning.
According to a press release from Xcel Energy, the company, along with area electric co-ops, has been forced to interrupt power to pre-selected electric circuits until system conditions improve. The Xcel Energy press release said frozen natural gas pipelines are the primary cause of the shortage, which caused a major deficiency in fuel power. Half of the wind power capacity in Texas was also temporarily knocked offline, according to Bloomberg. Solar energy was also likely not contributing much to our power resources at this time.
Xcel Energy is a member of what’s called the Southwest Power Pool, which manages this area’s power grid. The entire problem has expanded to communities across a 17 state area. These were the first weather-related rolling blackouts since 2011 for much of the region.
“Natural gas production is off because of the extreme cold, and supplies are freezing up in the wellfields, limiting the amount of gas that can be delivered over pipelines to power plants across the region and beyond. This is occurring across multiple states, including all of Texas,” said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy.
According to the press release, outages may be for up to one hour at a time until system conditions improve. We have received reports of some outages lasting longer than an hour. Xcel’s plan calls for the company to cycle through a different group of customers in each set.
If customers experience a service interruption of more than one hour, they should contact 1-800-895-1999 or report the outage at xcelenergy.com or through the Xcel Energy customer app, according to Xcel. The City of Carlsbad is in continual contact with Xcel and we are doing everything we can to represent our constituents. We will also provide updated information as it becomes available. The City of Carlsbad has posted stop signs at all traffic intersections until we get through this, to help protect the flow of traffic. Carlsbad Municipal Schools cancelled school at 9 a.m. Tuesday due to the outage and is evaluating the situation for the rest of the week.
Temperatures are expected to warm up quite a bit between now and Thursday. It is our hope that this change in temperature will quickly resolve this situation.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway