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Missouri Utilities Urge Customers To Conserve Energy During Frigid Temperatures

David Kovaluk
St. Louis Public Radio
Drivers on Interstate 64 experienced low visibility and heavy snow Monday as a winter storm blew across much of center of the country. As temperatures remain extremely low, energy companies are urging customers to reduce electricity and gas usage.

Utility companies in Missouri are asking people to conserve energy over the next few days as a winter storm blows through the Midwest.

On Tuesday, the regional electric grid operator warned energy companies that extreme cold weather has led to high electrical demand. It advised asking customers to conserve power.

Parts of western Missouri are experiencing planned, rolling power blackouts on Tuesday, but Ameren Missouri has no plans to do that at this point.

Kevin Anders, Ameren Missouri’s vice president of operations and technical services, said that the power grid was stable on Tuesday and that the company would continue to monitor it.

But he said local, rolling blackouts are still a possibility over the next few days if energy usage spikes to a point that threatens statewide outages. Anders said between 1,000 and 2,000 Ameren Missouri customers across the state lost power on Monday, mostly due to the weather.

He suggests customers reduce energy by avoiding using large appliances like ovens and dryers.

“If we can avoid using those today and wait until the day after tomorrow to use those. Set your thermostat a few degrees cooler in the daytime and then set it even a few degrees cooler when you go to sleep at night,” he said.

Natural gas company Spire is also asking customers to turn down the thermostat.

Scott Carter, Missouri president of Spire, said it’s unlikely customers in the St. Louis region will experience any disruptions, but they will see bills jump if they don’t conserve energy.

“With the current demand situation, prices are up, and so they should expect their bill to be higher than it would have been historically both because it’s colder and so they’re using more energy and because the energy they’re buying is more expensive,” he said.

Carter said the company hasn’t yet calculated how much bills could fluctuate.

Tips from Spire and Ameren on how to conserve energy at home:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees or lower.
  • Unplug or turn off nonessential appliances.
  • Avoid using large appliances like ovens and dryers.
  • Limit the use of natural gas fireplaces.
  • Open curtains of south-facing windows to let sunlight heat the home.
  • Seal areas where cold air could be coming into a home.
  • Reduce the temperature on electric hot water heaters.

Follow Corinne on Twitter: @corinnesusan

Corinne is the economic development reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.