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Extreme Weather Causing Electric Grid Disruptions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 16, 2021
CONTACTS: 
Teresa Waugh, 303-328-8225
Eric Barendsen, 303-704-0765
​LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Extreme winter weather conditions across the nation are causing energy shortages in the Southwest Power Pool’s 14-state footprint. As a result, Western Area Power Administration has been directed by SPP, its reliability coordinator and market operator, to reduce load to preserve the system. In this unprecedented situation, WAPA utility customers in the Upper Great Plains region have been experiencing power outages.

All WAPA utility customers are equally affected in the region and need to be prepared for unexpected outages through Thursday as record low temperatures continue to cause surges in energy use.  

WAPA’s footprint covers 15 western states. In six northern states, WAPA operates within the regional transmission organization run by SPP, which has been experiencing an energy emergency. To keep the system balanced, SPP declared a series of Energy Emergency Alerts. The highest level three means electric generation in the region is not sufficient to meet extreme and widespread demand for electricity. SPP then begins shutting down power, otherwise known as rolling blackouts, to reduce demand on the system. Because of emergency operations, SPP has been unable to notify its members in advance. 

WAPA has been directed by SPP to periodically shut off power on a rolling basis to help maintain the integrity of the grid. As a wholesale provider, WAPA is working with its utility customers to implement controlled interruptions.

Taking steps to cut energy use and conserve will reduce overall system load and minimize the need to shut off power.

WAPA and federal hydropower generation providers, including the Army Corps of Engineers, are working together to maximize output of these resources and closely monitor the system.

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About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 28,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov​.   


Page Last Updated: 2/16/2021 4:06 PM