Why would we need to have planned load shedding?
Grand Haven BLP purchases and receives power from a complex network of power suppliers and buyers connected by the regional electric transmission system. Oftentimes, we refer to this system simply as “the grid,” which can be a helpful way of understanding that our community is linked to many others in sharing power supply.
Planned load shedding outages are implemented as a last resort measure, after requesting voluntary reductions from all who can, to limit the amount of power used on the grid when demand exceeds supply. These outages prevent overloading the system, especially on hot days when air conditioning usage, and therefore electricity usage, is high. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO, our regional grid operator and Balancing Authority) has warned of an increased risk for potential load shedding events this summer across the entire region, which ranges from Manitoba, Canada, all the way to Louisiana.
What is load shedding? What’s a brownout?
Load shedding is the utility industry term for smaller area-wide rolling, planned power outages, most often initiated by the utility opening a substation circuit breaker to that area. The Balancing Authority (MISO) calls for utilities to shed load when they are unable to bring on more generation to meet growing demands for power. This is also referred to by some as “rolling brownouts.”
Will I know when a planned power outage is coming?
Before MISO requires load shedding, they most likely will have already asked for voluntary reductions. If these voluntary reductions are not enough and mandatory load shedding is required, the Grand Haven BLP will begin implementing rolling outages in planned two-hour increments by circuit. The BLP will then notify customers as to impacted customers and potential impacts to others as it receives that direction from MISO.
When would this happen?
If load shedding happens at all, MISO has indicated that it would most likely be during a stretch of multiple days of high temperatures when electricity use throughout the region is high and generation supply is expected to fall below what is needed.
How will utilities decide whose power goes out when?
The BLP is committed to a fair process in planning for required load shedding events. The BLP will temporarily shut off power to different circuits in the service area on a predetermined rotating basis if voluntary power reductions aren’t enough.
How long will my power be out?
Rotating outages for load shedding will likely last two hours or less at a time. By rotating through various circuits, we can reduce the impacts of outages to all our customers.
Who would be affected?
All GHBLP customers would be subject to load shedding events if they are of an extended nature, although not all customers would necessarily be affected each time “load shedding” is required. The BLP is committed to a fair and equitable process in planning these required outages.