Stillwater curtailment map

The yellow dots on this map indicate electric meters that will be affected by a 30-45 minute blackout beginning at 1:20 p.m. Provided

Stillwater avoided a temporary, rolling blackout this afternoon but may not be so lucky tonight.

City leaders were told shortly before 10 p.m. that a blackout would be necessary for the system to shed some of the electrical load, but it now appears the Southwest Power Pool, the agency that coordinates the electrical grid and wholesale power sales for this part of the country, has not made a final decision.

It is being described as "a very fluid situation."

The Southwest Power Pool has announced Stillwater may need to shed some of its power load to help balance the power pool. SPP had earlier indicated the blackout was a definite need but other power generation facilities are potentially coming online that could make it unnecessary. 

"The next 1-1.5 hours will be critical," Stillwater Electric Utility Director Loren Smith said in an email.

There is hope the Grand River Dam Authority's 500 MW production unit can be brought back online after blowing a tube in its boiler the day before yesterday, Smith explained. It is repaired and setting at 30 MW. They are planning to ramp it to 60 MW and see how it performs. This could be a tremendous help. 

The blackout was originally to take place some time between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m., Stillwater City Manager Norman McNickle told the News Press.

If a blackout it necessary overnight power will be out over an undetermined area for 30-45 minutes, he said. 

The areas identified for shutdown earlier in the day would likely be included but more meters are expected to be affected because the city needs to save more power than was announced earlier.

Follow the City of Stillwater and the Stillwater News Press on Facebook and Twitter for updates as the situation develops.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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