Electric Alert Information

Spring Valley Public Utility (SVPU) is informing customers of the potential for an Energy Emergency and what that may mean to you. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) that operates the electric grid in much of the upper Midwest is projecting an elevated risk of electricity disruptions in our area. These projections are due to:

  • Prolonged hotter/cooler 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.

When generating electricity, the production must be kept in balance with the usage at all times. Under normal conditions, MISO calls for generators to ramp up or down to match the demand for electricity. If the demand for electricity outpaces supply, then grid operators may issue an Energy Emergency to balance the electric system to avoid catastrophic failure of the grid.

If an Energy Emergency occurs, electric utilities will ramp up all types of available generation to prevent electrical outages. Should such events occur, our wholesale electric provider, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (SMMPA), along with SVPU will be expected to participate in the emergency curtailments of electricity to avoid the potential for a cascading failure of the electric grid which could lead to longer term consequences.

During an Energy Emergency, we will ask you, our customers, to reduce your energy use as much as possible to help us avoid outages. If these and other measures are not successful, we may be required to implement controlled temporary outages, or rolling blackouts, to maintain the stability of the electric grid. In that situation, SVPU will be required to alternate shutting off electrical circuits in the community until we meet the load reduction requirement from our power supplier. These rotating outages may vary in duration but will typically last an hour at a time. SVPU will do everything we can to minimize the need for these outages as well as the duration if they do occur.

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