Recently Orange County REMC was made aware there is a possibility of rolling blackouts in our region this summer. This warning was made by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), an independent, non-profit organization that oversees our regional electric grid spanning much of the Midwest, including Indiana. They warned during peak usage we may have a shortage of electricity.
With extremely high temperatures forecasted this week, it is likely energy usage could be above normal and potentially cause an electricity shortage. If the shortage is too great, the grid system could collapse, creating wide scale outages which could last for many hours or days similar to what occurred in Texas two winters ago or in New York City several years ago.
What can we do? In a grid-wide emergency, Orange County REMC will be called upon to undertake rolling blackouts. Rolling blackouts are designed to reduce the strain on the electric grid by temporarily shutting down power across parts of the utility’s service area to avoid wide scale outages. A rolling blackout typically last 30 minutes per location before it “rolls” to the next area. We do not know exactly if or when each member will be affected by a rolling blackout. We have a plan in place that our systems engineer will manage to reduce our demand on the grid. If you have a medical condition that requires electricity, make sure you have a backup plan in the event of a large-scale blackout event.
We ask you to continue to monitor announcements from Orange County REMC’s Facebook page, we will keep you informed in the case a rolling blackout does occur. In the meantime, consider cutting back on your energy usage during peak times (typically 2-8 pm, Monday through Friday) by setting your air conditioner thermostats up a couple of degrees and putting off running dishwashers, clothes dryers, pool pumps and other non-essential electric devices during this period.
Here are references to articles of similar discussion:
Why are we concerned about power reliability?
There’s been a national trend over the past several years of retiring older coal generation and transitioning to more intermittent renewable energy. So far, the pace of additions hasn’t kept up with the retirements.
The amount of extra generation available to handle unexpected events isn’t as large as it once. As a result, we want everyone to be increasingly more aware of the possibility of requests to reduce electricity usage.
If the supply/demand problem becomes too great, our regional grid operator will order rolling blackouts.
Why are we in this situation?
What should we do?
When should I do these things?
How long will this last?