North Dakota electric cooperatives experience outages
MANDAN, N.D. — A number of North Dakota’s electric cooperatives are experiencing outages in their service areas as the result of Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) emergency response to the strain on the power grid. This Level 3 Energy Emergency Alert situation is the result of unprecedented demand on the power grid caused by extreme and prolonged cold weather across SPP’s 14-state service area, which includes North Dakota.
SPP is working with energy suppliers and transmission operators, including the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), to shed electrical loads, resulting in outages. The emergent nature of this situation necessitated swift action by SPP’s wholesale energy distributors and transmission operators, resulting in little to no notice.
These outages are being implemented to prevent a larger, systemwide disruption and restore stability to the grid. This technique, called load shedding, is used to relieve stress on a primary energy source when demand for electricity is greater than the primary power source can supply.
Electric cooperatives are being advised these outages may last 45 to 60 minutes and could continue throughout today, Feb. 16, and into tomorrow, Feb. 17, when energy demand is at its highest. Electric consumers are encouraged to reduce electric usage, if possible, during peak times, typically between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Ways to reduce electric use include not running your dishwasher, pausing laundry cycles or turning your thermostat down one or two degrees.
Electric cooperative members are asked to notify their local electric cooperative if a power outage lasts longer than 60 minutes. Please refer to your local electric cooperative for the most accurate, current information as this situation evolves.
NDAREC is the statewide trade association for 16 electric distribution cooperatives and five generation and transmission cooperatives operating in North Dakota. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to more than 250,000 North Dakotans. NDAREC services include legislative advocacy, lineworker safety training, professional development services, cooperative business development and communication services, including publication of the North Dakota Living magazine.