OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Tom Kent, CEO & President of Nebraska Public Power District, provided an update on the current status of the electric grid and rolling blackouts during the cold snap.
Kent said rolling outages may be implemented again Tuesday night, Wednesday morning and possibly Wednesday afternoon as power demand goes up. It is possible that outages may be called for at other times as well though. Kent said he is hopeful that the need to use rolling outages will come to an end as warmer, more seasonable, weather moves into the area this weekend.
The outages are necessary to keep the eastern interconnection grid, which includes operating at a capacity that doesn’t exceed demand. If outages weren’t used, a longer, more widespread outage would be likely, Kent said.
After Tuesday morning’s outages, the load has been brought back to a stable level among the eastern interconnection, he said. That interconnection is made up of a number of states including Nebraska. You can see it in the picture from the U.S. Department of Energy’s website below:
The grid allows NPPD and other power companies to coordinate power need and production capabilities to prevent outages among grid partners. You can read more about it at https://www.energy.gov/oe/services/electricity-policy-coordination-and-implementation/transmission-planning/recovery-act-0.
Kent said this is the first time he knows that NPPD has had to implement rolling blackouts due to extreme cold. Rolling outages were used in 2012 during high demand and an inability, due to needed infrastructure upgrades and other reasons, to deliver power needed for irrigation during an ongoing drought.
To help lower stress put on the grid, Kent asked that people do their part to reduce usage. This can be done by unplugging devices that aren’t in use and by lowering your thermostat.
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