Winter Storm Gerri rolled into the Midwest region eerily similar to Winter Storm Uri in 2021.  These bitterly cold storms both occurred over a four-day holiday weekend, and both dipped well south into historically warmer weather regions of the Midwest.

Beginning the week of January 8th KMEA and KMGA staff began to evaluate reports of weather and resource alerts expected by weeks end and throughout the weekend.   Learning lessons from Winter Storm Uri staff and member utilities began to prepare generation, price monitoring, natural gas and diesel allocations, and utility operations among other vital preparedness measures.

As part of this action KMEA began holding daily video calls with members educating them on Southwest Power Pool status, gas supply and pricing, energy market pricing, and member generation availability.  This also gave members an opportunity to discuss challenges, opportunities, and ask any questions from KMEA/KMGA staff and other member cities.

As the week turned into the weekend, several KMEA member cities were dispatched by SPP to add generation to the grid.  Eight communities (Russell, Garden City, Ottawa, Baldwin City, Chapman, Girard, Holton, Jetmore) and 16 units were dispatched. All units utilized were registered in the SPP market.  KMEA member cities generated 915 MW, with a peak of 55 MW over the most challenging load hours.

Different from Winter Storm Uri, Winter Storm Gerri did not have the same natural gas supply issues and gas pricing as Storm Uri.  The market saw gas reach highs in the upper $20’s throughout the weekend.  Although high, it was much lower than the prices experienced during Winter Storm Uri. Along with stable prices the industry did not see the same number of freeze offs and supply challenges that brought tremendously high gas prices and caused many outages as the industry experienced during Uri.

These storms continue to show the value of public power and joint action to collectively manage through volatility.  Great job to the member utilities continuing to keep dependable energy to their respective community.