Energy Emergency Alert: companies ask for power conservation, warn of outages

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4-State residents are being asked to cut their use of natural gas and electricity by lowering thermostats and avoiding any unnecessary power usage. Today, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), serving thousands of Midwest residents (in 17 states), issued a LEVEL 3 Energy Emergency Alert.

(Related: Evergy plans electric outages after SPP issues Energy Emergency Alert, Liberty Utilities alerts customers of planned power outages)

In Miami, Oklahoma, according to the Police Department, this means planned power outages. SPP is shutting down substations for one hour at a time, rotating power outages throughout town.

SPP will implement controlled interruptions of service if necessary there and in other regions. Keep an eye on your City’s and energy company’s social media pages for possible announcements.

Persistent and extreme cold weather has led to region-wide electricity use that exceeds available generation across the Southwest Power Pool service territory.

All electric providers in Kansas and Empire District Electric Company (Liberty Utilities) in Missouri are all market participants of SPP, according to it’s membership page. (Is your energy company a member of SPP? Click here for a list)

Officials are asking customers to conserve energy in the following ways:

  • Turn down thermostats to 68 degrees.
  • Close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances. Avoid using large appliances.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production.
An EEA3 is triggered when SPP has to utilize operating reserves below the required minimum or ask our members to implement  service interruptions. Operating conditions may continue to tighten over the next several days because of widespread and extreme cold.
Below you will find the SPP press release with information about the continued response to this widespread and extreme cold weather event.

SPP elevates Energy Emergency Alert to Level 3 as grid conditions tighten further

Little Rock, Ark. — Persistent and extreme cold weather has led to region-wide electricity use that exceeds available generation across the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) service territory. At 10:08 a.m. central time on Monday, Feb. 15 the grid operator declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3, signaling that its operating reserves are below the required minimum. SPP has directed its member utilities to be prepared to implement controlled interruptions of service if necessary.

“Controlled service interruptions are a last resort, and a step we take only when necessary to safeguard continued reliability of the regional grid,” said SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell.

If necessary, SPP will instruct our members’ transmission system operators to reduce electricity demand by an amount needed to prevent further and uncontrolled power interruptions. Should that occur, individual utilities will determine how best to curtail their use by the required amount based on their own emergency operating plans.

While SPP and our member companies work to restore the regional power grid to full capacity, consumers are urged to reduce electricity use, both at home and work.

SPP declared a period of conservative operations for our entire balancing authority area at midnight central time on Feb. 9. Then, on Feb. 14, we declared an EEA Level 1 effective at 5:00 am central time on Monday, Feb. 15, and subsequently an EEA Level 2 at 7:22 am on Monday, February 15.

The declaration of conservative operations signaled to SPP’s member company utility operators that they should operate conservatively to mitigate the risk of worsening conditions. An EEA1 signals that SPP foresees or is experiencing conditions where all available resources are scheduled to meet firm load obligations and that we may be unable to sustain its required contingency reserves. An EEA Level 2 required SPP to direct its member companies to issue public conservation appeals.

We thank the public for their cooperation and understanding during this power grid emergency. Follow us on Twitter or visit SPP.org for updates.

About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.

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