Local Electric Cooperatives Proactive in Cold Snap

By Mike Scott

“We have not seen cold temperatures like this for an extended period of time since the 1980’s” said Travis Mathes, Manager of Member Services for Lewis County REC.

During the “height” of last week’s cold snap, Lewis County REC, and every other electric cooperative across the state put out an unusual plea to their members, asking them to conserve electricity.

“It was so cold that all of our generation assets were operating at capacity,” Mathes said. “Usually, in a cold snap, it might be just northeast Missouri that’s really cold, so the high demand can be handled from other places. This cold went from Minnesota to Mexico.”

“People across the electric cooperative system were asked to conserve. Use what you must, but save when you can. And they answered the call,” Mathes said.

“We didn’t have any damage to the electric grid here. We were proactively looking at prevention,” Mathes continued. “We didn’t want to get caught in a bad situation. We wanted to be proactive instead of reactive.”

“What could have happened, if we hadn’t been able to reduce the demand, was that we would have to turn off people’s electricity for 30 minutes at a time. Thankfully, we didn’t need to do that,” he said.

Mathes said that demand has returned to normal, seasonal levels, and he said it was time for electric customers to be proactive now.

“Now is the time to change your filters. Now is the time check your blower motors. Some people’s furnaces didn’t shut off for long periods of time. Things got worked harder than ever,” Mathes said.