Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared every county in Illinois a disaster Tuesday following a severe winter storm.
By 10:30 a.m., about 7,000 Illinois households lacked power, and the number was expected to fluctuate given the extreme weather and arctic temperatures. Illinois residents were asked to safely conserve energy to reduce strain on the nation’s power grid.
The governor said he was directing his administration to use all resources at their disposal to keep communities safe.
"We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations,” Pritzker said in a prepared statement. “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."
Extreme weather has disrupted natural gas production in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. At the same time, spikes in demand and decreased supply are causing spikes in natural gas prices. Utility companies nationwide are reporting soaring wholesale costs. Without federal intervention, those increased prices could result in higher utility bills for Illinois residents in the coming weeks.
Over 4.8 million electric customers remain without power across the USA from winter storms. With 4 million out in #Texas. SPP has downgraded to alert level 1, ERCOT remains at alert level 3. Check out https://t.co/8cAFt3zGJe for #PowerOutage data! [2021-02-16 2:02PM EST] pic.twitter.com/nQoZd1DTi9— PowerOutage.us (@PowerOutage_us) February 16, 2021