Pritzker issues disaster proclamation, addresses potential power outages

By Keaton Yates, Staff Reporter

All 102 counties of Illinois have been issued a disaster proclamation due to the dangerous winter storm. With roughly 7,000 Illinois households suffering power outages as of Tuesday, Governor Pritzker said he has directed his administration to use all resources at their disposal.

“We are in communication with local governments to ensure they have the support they need in disaster response and recovery operations,” Pritzker said. “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.”

Wells are currently frozen in key natural gas producing states, meaning gas prices will spike due to increased demand and decreased supply. 

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Utility companies have reported soaring wholesale prices and, without federal intervention, utility bills could rise for Illinois residents in the following weeks.

To protect homes, Pritzker advises residents to stay in heated rooms if possible. Homes without heat should keep doors and vents closed in unused rooms. Turn down thermostats a few degrees and stay bundled in layers.

When using fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters, use safeguards and ensure proper ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Water heaters should also be lowered a few degrees. Avoid using large appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers. 

Walls and attics should be insulated and doors and windows should be caulked and weatherized. 

Leave windows uncovered during the day, but place a blanket over them at night. Cracks in doors and windows can be covered with blankets, towels, newspaper, rugs and other material.

Check on neighbors often, especially the elderly. If you are unable to contact a neighbor and are worried about them, contact law enforcement. 

More tips for staying safe at home and on the road are available in a Winter Weather Preparedness Guide developed by IEMA and the National Weather Service.  Other tips can be found on Ready Illinois.

Staff reporter Keaton Yates can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @keatsians.

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