Regional electric grid sends alert about potential Wednesday energy crunch

By Greg Bishop | The Center Square

It’s not quite time for rolling blackouts, but an alert issued Tuesday by the Midcontinent Independent System Operators, which serves Louisiana, could be the first step in preparing for such actions.

MISO’s “maximum generation alert” was issued for from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m Wednesday for the market footprint, which also includes Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota, most of Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana and South Dakota, and parts of Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana and Texas. A similar alert was sent Monday for the south region of MISO. The nation is split among several regional energy grids.

“The reason for the Event is because of Forced Generation Outages, Above Normal Temps, High Congestion,” the alert notification said Tuesday.

The announcement is just an advisory and is not the elevated “warning” or “event” stage. But the next advisories could require electric utilities to request energy conservation or implement rolling blackouts and power outages.

Here are some conservation steps electric customers could implement for energy emergencies during peak hours and hot temperatures:

  • Set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;
  • Use floor or ceiling fans to cool off in occupied rooms;
  • Turn off lights where not needed and postpone major appliance use, such as with washing machines, dryers and dishwashers;
  • Turn off and disconnect electronics not in use such as computers, printers, copiers, coffee makers, televisions and charging devices;
  • Shade west-facing windows in the afternoon to reduce solar heat gain.
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