Power usage stabilizes after day of record high

Published 2:02 am Friday, January 19, 2018

NATCHEZ — Just a day after high electricity use threatened to bring power cuts to communities, representatives said power consumption has returned to normal.

Mark Brown, communications advisor for Midcontinent Independent System Operator South, said energy use returned to normal Thursday.

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MISO South is a regional electric transmission organization that operates the power grid in east Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Brown said rising temperatures and improving conditions have stabilized the electric grid across MISO South’s four states and that all emergency operations terminated at 10:45 a.m. Thursday.

The return to normality comes just one day after overwhelming stressors to the electric grid threatened to cut electricity from some communities.

MISO refers this type of situation as a Maximum Generation Event. During such an event, if the power grid reaches a critical shortage, the organization may “shed” the power burden by cutting electricity to some communities.

“MISO and member utilities worked together to maintain reliability of the power grid over the past two days as extreme temperatures gripped the South,” Brown said. “Generation outages also posed challenges for the system operator. In preparation for the most challenging conditions, MISO declared a Maximum Generation Event for the South region that included a public appeal for power conservation.”

Wednesday’s energy expenditure broke MISO South’s standing winter record with 32.1 gigawatts. The all-time peak is a summer expenditure of 32.6 gigawatts.

On an average winter day, Brown said, MISO South moderates about 23.4 gigawatts of energy throughout the region.

Thursday morning’s expenditure was still high at 30.9 gigawatts, but not high enough to strain the power grid, Brown said.

As conditions continue to improve following the cold front that brought temperatures in the low teens to the Miss-Lou, Brown said the usage should continue to drop.