Controlled blackouts on hold; extreme cold overwhelms region’s grid

Mike Seals - February 15, 2021 10:43 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOCO) — The extreme cold has overwhelmed our region’s power grid.

In a rare move Monday, the Southwest Power Pool briefly put Oklahoma’s region on a Level 3 Alert, directing power companies like OG&E to put in place controlled blackouts to save power.

“We’ll take a set of customers off for a short timeframe,” OG&E spokesperson Brian Alford said. “We’ll bring them back on, and then we’ll take another set of customers off. So, it rotates around the system. It’s very controlled. It’s very managed.”

Those blackouts apparently are now paused after Southwest Power Pool went back to a Level 2 Alert, but they could restart at any time. Because the cold is so extreme and widespread and has lasted multiple days, the power system just can’t handle it.

There are serious concerns about what would happen without controlled blackouts or reducing power consumption.

“You’d lose control of the system, and you experience regional blackouts – again, uncontrolled outages of an unknown length and duration,” Alford said. “So, this is an effort to help preserve the integrity of the grid.”


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