SPP Energy Emergency At Level 2; Blackouts Possible Overnight
Mike Seals - February 16, 2021 10:58 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY (News9) – Southwest Power Pool (SPP) placed Oklahoma back into a Level 2 energy emergency categorization, one level away from another round of rolling blackouts.
It’s possible more blackouts could happen Tuesday night, officials said.
In a news briefing held late Tuesday afternoon, an SPP representative confirmed that they expect energy demand to rise sharply during the night, which could trigger an energy emergency Level 3. That could trigger outages, and they could happen before midnight.
In a media alert, OG&E said that “should the mandated interruptions resume, OG&E will make every effort to communicate with customers about your specific service interruption and estimated restoration.”
The entity behind rolling blackouts across Oklahoma said in a press conference Tuesday that outages were unavoidable.
Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said Tuesday’s electricity interruptions lasted about three hours. Monday’s blackouts lasted about an hour, and it’s possible that more power outages will be mandated Wednesday.
However, electricity customers won’t be getting a heads-up on any decision to cut power because SPP holds off as long as possible before making that call to interrupt service. The decision, they said, is made in minutes if not seconds.
The group’s energy alert levels change based on power consumption. For example, Oklahoma is at a Level 1 energy emergency Tuesday night but was at a Level 3 Tuesday morning. Those ratings are based on supply and demand of electricity, SPP explained.
SPP has been the entity coordinating power for Oklahoma since the 1940s. They don’t own any of the energy; they direct it and direct utilities to start these rolling blackouts.
Once SPP issues its emergency alert, the utilities decide who loses power.
SPP said in Tuesday’s news conference that the energy emergency did not catch them by surprise. They forecasted high demand due to the winter storms and began preparations last week.