UPDATE 2/18/21 @ 4:00 p.m.
The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has stated they are no longer under an energy emergency alert (EEA), although they are still asking that members conserve energy when possible. The electric grid conditions have improved and seems we are coming out of this emergency period.
We want to thank all of the members for their patience and understanding throughout this unprecedented event.
Update 2/17/21 at 2:00 p.m. :
As we continue to monitor the condition of the region’s electrical system, the Southwest Power Pool (spp.org) encourages everyone to conserve energy throughout the 14-state region that they oversee. Substation outages were avoided this morning, but there is still the possibility that substation outages may occur this evening or tomorrow morning. The outages are performed by our wholesale power provider, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), from the direction of SPP if a critical energy state is met. Unfortunately, this emergency load shedding may occur with little or no notice and Northern Plains has no control over which service areas may be interrupted. If a substation outage occurs, expect the duration to last 45 to 60 minutes.
Thank you for your patience during this time. We will continue to update as information becomes available. We expect this issue to be resolved as the weather improves towards the end of the week.
Update 2/16/21 at 6:30 p.m. :
The condition of the region’s electrical system continues to be monitored and the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) (spp.org) forecasts that high load and persistent cold weather may result in the electrical system to fluctuate over the next 48 hours. SPP is one of the regional transmission operators who has the capability to order a wholesale power provider like Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) to initiate load shedding during emergency conditions. Northern Plains Electric Cooperative (NPEC) relies on wholesalers like WAPA for its energy to distribute to our members.
If WAPA is ordered to initiate load shedding to ease strain on the electric grid, NPEC may be subject to substation outages throughout our service territory. Unfortunately, this emergency load shedding may occur with little or no notice and Northern Plains has no control over which service areas may be interrupted. If a substation outage occurs, expect the duration to last 45 to 60 minutes. If your outage is longer than 60 minutes, please report the outage.
Load shedding is performed when the demand of energy is greater than what is produced. If the demand is not reduced, larger blackouts may occur. NPEC will provide updates as information becomes available and communicate if emergency conditions are reached. Thank you all for your patience during these unprecedented circumstances.
Update 2/16/21 at 11:55 a.m.:
Northern Plains Electric Cooperative (NPEC) experienced several substation outages throughout the service territory this morning (Feb. 16th) due to required load shedding from one of our power suppliers. The regional transmission operator Southwest Power Pool (SPP) (spp.org) issued an emergency request to our Power Supplier, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), to start shedding load. The request from SPP was due to extreme temperatures throughout the central region of the nation which has caused a strain on the region’s electrical system. This request resulted in the deliberate shutdown of electric power at NPEC substations across our service territory to mitigate further strain of the electrical system. Members experienced outages that lasted between 45 to 60 minutes. It is possible that the rolling outages may continue tonight (Feb. 16th) and tomorrow (Feb. 17th) morning. If this does occur, we expect similar outage durations of 45 to 60 minutes.
SPP operates the electrical transmission system across parts of 14 states, including North Dakota. SPP works with power suppliers to implement emergency outages if they reach a critical energy supply level. NPEC has no control over which service areas have power interrupted, nor do we know precisely when it will occur.
NPEC will provide further updates when more information becomes available.