LES prepared for frigid temps during Nebraska cold spell

Jan. 16, 2024, 9 a.m. ·

Lincoln began the week with temperatures as low as -18 on Sunday. After a brief midweek warmup, temperatures could be as low as -16 Friday morning. (Photo by Brian Beach/Nebraska Public Media News)

Nebraska has experienced a historically cold week with temperatures in many parts of the state dipping to their lowest in three years. Sunday morning, the temperature in Lincoln fell to -18 degrees, making it the coldest day in the capital city since February 16, 2021.

On that day, nearly three years ago, the temperature dipped to 31 below, contributing to rolling blackouts across the region. But Paul Crist, Vice President of Energy Delivery for the Lincoln Electric System, said that’s unlikely to happen again with this cold stretch.

“We've taken a lot of steps since the last time back in 2021, just to make sure everything is prepared,” Crist said. “We've had crews stay on working 12 hour shifts throughout the weekend.”

Crist said there is typically lower demand for power in the winter months, so more maintenance is done on equipment. However, that can become an issue when temperatures fall well below zero.

“When we get into this extremely cold weather, sometimes the demand starts to go above what we would have forecasted,” he said.

After slightly warmer weather on Tuesday and Wednesday, temperatures will fall back below zero across the state Saturday morning.