Southwest Power Pool

The Southwest Power Pool serves an area stretching from the Canadian border to Texas. The organization, which administers power for the central U.S. is asking power customers to conserve electricity and natural gas beginning at 12 a.m. Monday to ensure the grid has enough power for all customers. Provided

The call for utility customers across the central U.S. to conserve energy became more urgent this morning. 

People in the region are being asked to avoid any unnecessary consumption of electricity and natural gas for the next 48 hours to prevent power shortages that could cause rolling blackouts.

Individuals in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex with ties to the Stillwater area have already reported some power interruptions.

The Southwest Power Pool, an organization responsible for the electric grid and wholesale power distribution across a 17-state territory in the central U.S. that stretches from the Canadian border to Texas, has upgraded its Energy Emergency Alert to a level 2.

“An EEA2 is the second of three levels of energy emergency,” SPP explained in a statement released Monday morning. “An EEA Level 3 would be triggered if SPP has to utilize operating reserves below the required minimum or ask our members to implement controlled service interruptions.”

The City of Stillwater and other utility providers across Oklahoma are impacted by the situation.

The SPP announced Sunday that it was asking people in its service area to limit their usage of electricity and natural gas beginning at 12 a.m. Monday. That message was then shared by entities supplied by SPP, like the Grand River Dam Authority and the City of Stillwater.

SPP had previously declared a period of conservative operations beginning Feb. 9. and lasting until further notice.

The SPP informed its member utilities like GRDA, which supplies Stillwater and other communities in Oklahoma with wholesale power, that it would declare an Energy Emergency Alert level 1 beginning at 5 a.m. Monday.

It took less than three hours for that alert to be upgraded as people woke up Monday and began going about their daily routines.

The alert comes in response to persistent and extreme cold across the SPP service territory that is increasing demand, the organization said.

“The EEA Level 2 requires SPP to ask its member companies to issue public conservation appeals, and the alert will remain in effect until further notice to mitigate the risk of more widespread and longer-lasting outages,” according to the SPP release.

“SPP’s analysis of current forecast data indicates that conditions may continue to tighten over the next several days because of persistent, widespread and extreme cold. We have recommended that load-serving utilities throughout our region take conservation measures to mitigate the risk of more widespread and longer-lasting outages. End-use customers in the SPP region should follow their local utilities’ instructions regarding the potential for outages, the need to conserve electricity or natural gas and other steps to ensure their safety and the integrity of the regional grid.”

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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