You may have read about the possibility of energy shortages and rolling blackouts this summer. While the chance of this is very low, we want to provide more information on this topic and alleviate concern.
What are rolling blackouts?
Rolling blackouts are controlled, temporary power outages that help bring balance to the supply and demand of electricity and stabilize the grid. Rolling blackouts are typically the last step in a series of emergency procedures after a power supply shortage is detected.
Why could we have rolling blackouts?
When the demand for electricity becomes higher than the supply it can cause a widespread blackout. These temporary outages, or rolling blackouts, allow the available energy supply to be shared and help prevent everyone in the area from experiencing an extended blackout.
Who determines if rolling blackouts are necessary?
Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) oversees the power grid in 15 U.S. states, including Minnesota, and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO can call for rolling blackouts if necessary, but has many preventative measures and emergency operating procedures in place. The MISO system has already successfully operated through extreme weather this summer.
How does Dakota Electric prepare for rolling blackouts?
Dakota Electric works with Great River Energy to prepare for all types of situations. In the unlikely event that a rolling blackout occurs, we are prepared to make sure any service disruption is limited.
MISO can also call on electric co-ops to reduce energy through demand management. When this occurs, Dakota Electric is in a great position given our decades-long commitment to load management. Through our programs, like Cycled Air Conditioning®, Dakota Electric can significantly reduce peak demand in the summer if needed.
How can you prepare for rolling blackouts?
The chance of rolling blackouts this summer is very low, but Dakota Electric wants to make sure that our members are prepared if one does occur. Here are some things you can do in case of an outage:
- Stay up-to-date on information from Dakota Electric about energy conditions. Follow us on social media for real-time updates.
- Stock up on essentials such as food, water and medication.
- Have a flashlight and batteries handy.
- Critical care patients should have a backup plan for lifesaving equipment in case of unplanned outages.
How can you help prevent rolling blackouts?
The best thing you can do to help is to lower your own electricity use. Here are some things that you as a member can do:
- Participate in one of Dakota Electric’s load management programs, call 651-463-6243 to learn more.
- Perform energy-demanding tasks during off-peak hours.
- Unplug appliances and electronics that aren’t in use.
- Take steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
- Invest in smart home technology.