Blackouts will roll across the spine of the American Midwest, stretching from North Dakota to Oklahoma, amid the extreme cold snap that has disrupted power generation and sent demand soaring.
Southwest Power Pool, which manages power for 14 states, declared an energy emergency alert for its entire network this morning. It said it is ordering utilities to start rolling blackouts as seen this week in Texas.
SPP is declaring an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 effective immediately for our entire 14-state balancing authority area. Systemwide generating capacity has dropped below our current load of ~42 GW due to extremely low temperatures and inadequate supplies of natural gas. pic.twitter.com/AfK3A9i9Ps
— Southwest Power Pool (@SPPorg) February 16, 2021
SPP said that this was the first time it had ever had to order rolling blackouts.
“This is done as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole,” the agency said. “It’s a step we’re consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse, which could result in uncontrolled outages of even greater magnitude.