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With the heavy snow placing increased demands on electrical grids, Benton Utilities is putting plans into place should it be forced to proceed with rotating blackouts.

While there are no current blackout plans, BU said that it wants to be upfront with customers and give them as much information as possible.

“If we get the call, what happens next,” BU said in a social media statement. “From the call, we are told how much to reduce and how quickly to reach the target. (Tuesday night) for example, we were given 30 minutes to reach our target.”

BU said the first step would be to immediately reach out to customers and ask them to reduce usage in order to prevent a blackout.

“If we react quickly enough, and reduce load enough, outages will be avoided,” BU said.

BU does not have control over isolated customers, meaning that some residents are on the same circuit as hospitals as elder-care facilities while others are on the same circuits as grocery stores.

“We have some residents that depend on oxygen generators and/or dialysis machines,” BU said.  “Some of our pharmacies are storing COVID vaccines in specialized freezers. Luckily, with virtual education available, our children are home with our families. Because we have extremely limited control, the best we can do is to rotate outages, if needed, for short periods of time.”

Should forced outages be necessary, BU stated that it will communicate the locations, times and durations of any forced outages as soon as they have that information.

“Thank you all for checking back with us and helping us spread the word,” BU said. “Reach out to us if you have specific questions.”

For updated information check the BU Facebook page or visit www.bentonutilities.com.