Summer is here and forecasted higher-than-average temperatures may lead to increased energy demand. "Otter Tail Power has enough resources to serve our customers, though expected summer weather challenges could mean we'll need to take additional steps to help maintain reliability of the energy grid," said Otter Tail Power Asset Management Vice President JoAnn Thompson. "I am confident in our preparedness. Our employees are well trained and ready for any type of energy grid event, and we have solid plans in place to respond to grid and market fluctuations."
Understanding the energy grid
Otter Tail Power is part of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which oversees energy delivery from utilities across the Central U.S., including 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. "MISO acts as the air traffic controller for the energy grid, ensuring the right amount of electricity for over 42 million people," said Thompson. "If demand across the MISO footprint outweighs available energy, short-term service interruptions may impact our customers as we work together to conserve energy. Our job is to be ready for potential energy grid events, and there are several energy-conservation steps we would take before customers experience an interruption to service."
What this means for customers
If summer temperatures continue to rise, utilities and customers likely will need to work together to help ensure grid stability. Otter Tail Power may ask customers to conserve energy more frequently. In extreme instances, if MISO calls upon Otter Tail Power to conduct controlled service interruptions, the company expects they'll last about an hour or so at a time. If needed, these short-term interruptions help eliminate or reduce the likelihood of longer, larger-scale impacts.
How customers can partner with electric utilities and neighbors
Here are a few things customers can do to help:
Use only necessary lights and turn them off when leaving a room.
Turn off and unplug electronics not in use.
Use fewer electrical appliances.
Turn air-conditioning thermostats up a few degrees.
Keep window coverings closed during the day.
Delay unnecessary laundry and dishwashing, and only run full loads.
Consider serving cold sandwiches or a salad for evening meals.
Postpone taking a shower until later in the evening.