SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for all 102 counties in response to the dangerous winter storm that has blanketed the state with life threatening wind chills, power outages and accumulating snow.
The extreme arctic temperatures, affecting more than ten states, have added additional stress on utility providers across the nation. As of 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, approximately 7,000 Illinois households were without power, and that number is expected to fluctuate as the strain of arctic temperatures and extreme weather continues.
To alleviate stress on the nation’s grid, all Illinois residents were encouraged to take appropriate measures to safely conserve energy.
“I have directed my administration to use all resources at our disposal to keep our communities safe amid dangerous and ongoing winter weather,” Pritzker said. “We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations. We are also working with our federal partners to pursue federal assistance to help communities recover and to do what we can to protect ratepayers from soaring utility bills. I urge all Illinoisans to take this extreme weather seriously, avoid all unnecessary travel and check in on your neighbors.”
Extreme weather has resulted in frozen wells in key natural gas producing states, including Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. The sub-zero temperatures are resulting in increased demand and decreased supply, causing natural gas prices to spike. Utility companies across the nation are reporting soaring wholesale costs, and without federal intervention, those increased prices could result in higher utility bills for Illinois residents in the coming weeks.
“Proper home heating is a critical issue during the winter months, and over time has proven deadly for many families,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “If using an alternative heating source during this extreme weather, take a moment to ensure that your carbon monoxide detector is working properly. The proper safety precautions can save lives during extreme weather.”