Oklahoma was one of many states in the nation that experienced record-low temperatures in February. Parts of Oklahoma experienced below-freezing temperatures for nearly 14 days straight. Lows in Stillwater reached -15 degrees on February 16, with wind chills dipping much lower.
Due to historically frigid temperatures, demand for electricity rose significantly and power supply in some parts of the state was not sufficient to fulfill the rising demand of electric power.
“The extreme temperatures were a high concern for Central Rural Electric Cooperative,” said Central CEO, Hunter Robinson. “We know how important electricity is in these times, and we didn’t want anyone to go without.”
Central was fortunate to not have to implement rolling blackouts that other parts of the state were subject to. The cooperative experienced only a handful of outages that were mostly due to high winds and ice on the lines. At the request of its power providers, the cooperative did ask members to voluntarily conserve power to help ease the demand on power plants that were running at maximum capacity.
Industry experts say heating systems in Oklahoma were not designed to run on extremely frigid temperatures as experienced during the recent winter storm. With heating systems made to run efficiently at 30 to 40 degrees, the recent cold spell caused heating systems of all sorts to run at full capacity. In some cases, heating systems consumed twice the amount of electricity to provide heat or even close to three times. The higher energy usage from consumers will translate into higher bills.
“Central is here to work with any member who is unable to pay their electric bills,” said Robinson. “Our member service representatives will work with you to come up with flexible payment plans for your budget.”
While the full impact of the higher-than-usual costs associated with the arctic blast are not yet known, Central and its power providers are evaluating and determining ways to lessen the impact of such increases to the membership as best as possible.