Unseasonably cold temperatures and record snowfalls are straining energy resources across the country. We are continuously monitoring and reviewing our energy supply, especially during extreme weather to mitigate supply disruptions. You can do your part to reduce the national demand for gas by setting your thermostat to 68 degrees.
Both our electric and gas systems are currently operating as intended, with minimal concerns for significant operational issues. Our system and employees are resilient and ready to meet the needs of our customers during these unprecedented weather conditions.
We are closely monitoring how electricity blackouts could impact a community’s natural gas service. Operations is prepared to physically monitor or respond to town border stations and other critical infrastructure if needed.
Here are tips to help you during and after the storm:
What can I do to stay warm if I lose power?
- With the extreme cold temperatures causing widespread power outages, you may also experience a disruption in your natural gas service. Here are ways to stay warm and safe in your home if your gas service is interrupted:
- Preserve the heat inside - avoid opening doors and close blinds and drapes to keep your house from cooling down.
- A temporary loss of electricity will prevent your furnace from running. Once service is restored, your furnace should automatically restore operation. You’re encouraged to call an HVAC professional if that is not the case.
- Dress in layers - wear multiple layers of clothing along with a hat and gloves.
- In extreme cold, avoid wood fireplaces because they require extra ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
- Never use outdoor barbecue grills, kerosene heaters or camping heaters inside your home because they emit carbon monoxide.
- If you are having trouble keeping your home warm during a natural gas service outage, do not stay overnight. Consider spending the night with family or friends or at a hotel if that’s an option.
- Also, to minimize frozen pipes, Black Hills Energy recommends leaving a small stream of water running from all indoor faucets (a few drops from both the hot and cold faucets).
- Keep garage doors closed and minimize opening of doors to keep cold air out.
What should I do as the storm clears?
Smell gas? Many describe it as smelling like rotten eggs. If your nose picks up this scent, immediately evacuate everyone from the building or area. Once you’re away from the building, call 911 and our emergency number at 800-890-5554.
Black Hills Energy also realizes increased nationwide usage could result in higher bills, and there are a number of resources available to support customers:
- The easiest way for families to access emergency assistance funds is to call 211, and a representative will connect them with a utility assistance case worker in their area.
- Customers in the Black Hills Energy service territory are eligible for Black Hills Cares funds, a utility assistance program made possible by donations from fellow customers. The Black Hills Energy Foundation matches those donations at 100%.
- The state Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) application period is currently open via DCF: http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx
- Budget Billing is a free, stable payment option offered by Black Hills Energy that makes bills more predictable by averaging the amount you pay each month so you can avoid spikes in a bill caused by seasonal anomalies.