main news story
ILEC Summary of Energy Emergency Crisis

February 19, 2021 11:29am

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative's wholesale power supplier, Corn Belt Power Cooperative, was one of several utilities called upon to implement load curtailment measures to some meters this past Monday and Tuesday due to the extreme cold weather.

Corn Belt Power is a member of a regional transmission organization known as Southwest Power Pool. SPP issued Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 and 3 orders to its member utilities across several states Monday through Wednesday, calling for high levels of electric load reduction/curtailment to match available supply. This marked the first time in Southwest Power Pool's 80-year history that an EEA Level 2 or 3 warning was issued.

On Monday afternoon, SPP called for Corn Belt Power to curtail five megawatts of load, which lasted approximately 33 minutes. Approximately 15-hundred accounts lost power, including 279 member-owners of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative.

24 megawatts of load were curtailed on Tuesday morning. Of the 12-thousand 500 accounts that lost power, nearly 34-hundred were ILEC member-owners. All but one of the seven substations were re-energized in just over one hour. A switch failure kept the other substation offline for just over two hours.

These outages are referred to as rolling blackouts, and occurred without much advanced warning. Outages and load curtailment measures are necessary to protect the entire SPP power grid.

Electric member-owners are still encouraged to practice energy conservation measures such as turning down thermostats, covering drafty windows, and avoiding using large appliances during times of peak demand such as early morning or late afternoon.