Moorhead Public Service warns of potential risk of service interruptions this Summer

Photo by: Moorhead Public Service - Facebook
Photo by: Moorhead Public Service - Facebook

(Moorhead, MN) -- As summer approaches, regional operators of the electric grid are projecting an elevated risk of electricity shortages in our area, and that includes Moorhead Public Services.

These projections are due to:

  • Warmer than normal forecasted temperatures.
  • Greater amounts of intermittent renewable generation, such as wind and solar, in the current power supply mix that may not be available when needed.
  • Retirements of fossil-fueled power plants that can fill the gap when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.
  • Public policy driving the pace of change to clean energy faster than new technologies can be developed to fill the gap.

Electricity is a unique product in the fact that the generation of electricity must be kept in balance with the usage of electricity at all times. Under normal conditions, regional grid operators ramp generators up or down to match the demand for electricity. If the demand for electricity outpaces supply, then grid operators issue energy alerts or even energy emergency alerts to balance the electric system to avoid catastrophic failure of the grid.

If Energy Alert or Energy Emergency conditions occur this summer, regional utilities will run all types of available generation to prevent electrical outages. Moorhead Public Service says it is prepared to run local generators and may call upon local businesses that have generators to do the same, should such an event occur. Other steps include operating the load management system, which cycles air conditioners and water heaters off and on for brief periods. MPS may call upon commercial and industrial customers that have agreements in place to curtail usage if requested.

“Although we can’t control energy emergencies, MPS and our power supplier, Missouri River Energy Services, are prepared to do everything possible to keep the lights on and keep homes and businesses running,” said General Manager Travis Schmidt.

During an 'Energy Alert', MPS says it will ask you to reduce your energy use as much as possible to help avoid outages. Some of the ways you can help are:

  • turn up your thermostat a few degrees
  • close your drapes or blinds to keep the sun out
  • shut off all unnecessary lights and equipment
  • delay using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dishwashers until later in the evening

If these and other measures are not successful, the regional grid operator will issue an 'Energy Emergency' and require that utilities initiate a series of controlled temporary outages, or rolling blackouts, to maintain the stability of the electric grid.

If you rely on life support equipment in your home, you're asked to call MPS at (218) 477-8000 Option 4 and let them know as soon as possible. The Utility says it will make every effort to avoid an outage in your area, however if you rely on life support equipment you're asked to be prepared or have alternate living arrangements made in case an outage occurs.  

To check for updates and information on Current Electric Grid Conditions, click here.