By Logan Smith

(CBS4) — Two northern Colorado utility companies asked customers on Sunday to conserve power after impacts from a record-breaking cold air system rippled through regional suppliers down to local distributors.

Platte River Power Authority and Mountain Parks Electric appealed for reduced consumption of both electricity and natural gas early Sunday afternoon.

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PRP supplies electricity to Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont and Estes Park. Its request lasted almost 24 hours and was lifted Monday just before 1:30 p.m.

A spokesman for PRPA told CBS4 that suppliers of natural gas advised the company Sunday to eliminate the use of gas for electricity. Some of the plant’s electricity is generated by natural gas-powered turbines.

“This is a standard protocol for extreme cold weather situations,” Steve Roalstad stated via email. “In our case, however, we were not getting much energy production from our wind and solar resources because of snow on the panels and icing, which led to tight electricity supplies.”

The wind turbines, he said, were affected by snow, ice, and little wind. Their output was back to normal by mid-day Monday.

 

(credit: Platte River Power Authority/Facebook)

Granby-based Mountain Parks Electric lifted its Sunday request after four hours.

“There are no more system constraints,” the company stated in a follow-up Facebook post.

Denver’s official low temperature Monday morning was -17 degrees which is 35 degrees below normal but not quite a record. The record low for Denver on February 15 is -20 set in 1881. Still, it is the coldest temperature in Denver since December 30, 2015 when the official thermometer for the city dropped to -19 degrees.

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Power-generating capability have been hampered by the record low temperatures in several of Colorado’s Great Plains neighbors.

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In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District warned on Facebook, “We need your help conserving energy—NOW,” and told its users that

The City of Fulton, Neb., begged its citizens for conservation after natural gas prices increased almost 100 fold, a CBS affiliate reported on Friday.

A regional transmission organization, Southwest Power Pool, issued an Energy Emergency Alert as a result of the record cold’s impact on the system.

That is the agency’s highest level alert, a CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City reported.

Rotating power outages were initiated Sunday night in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle and continued into Monday.

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(credit: Steve Hockstein/Bloomberg/iStock/Getty Images)

A spokesman for Tri-State Generation and Transmission which supplies 42 local distributors in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, told CBS4 Monday that the troubles experienced in the other states might affect a portion of Colorado.

“The events in the eastern interconnect have not affected the western interconnect,” Tri-State’s Mark Stutz stated via email. “In the eastern interconnect, where Tri-State serves members in Nebraska, northeastern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming, the Southwest Power Pool is at a Level 3 Energy Emergency Alert as grid conditions further tighten. Tri-State is working with the SPP to manage loads to help ensure the reliability of the regional grid. At the direction of SPP and to support regional reliability, late this morning one megawatt of load in Wyoming was interrupted for just under 1 hour. That load has been restored.”

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Logan Smith