TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Experts warn of potential energy blackouts as temperatures outside continue to rise.
The Midcontinent Independent System Operator controls the electrical grid in the Midwest, and it issued a capacity alert warning that could shorten available energy during peak times.
Utilities District of Western Indiana CEO Doug Childs said that those peak hours are between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., which is around the time most people return home for work, school or other activities.
Childs said that he doesn’t expect a blackout, but with the chance out there, he wants members to be aware.
Blackouts briefly shutdown power across parts of a utility’s service area to reduce strain on the electric grid. If a blackout is necessary, that decision would be made by MISO, and would be sent out to various Midwest utility companies.
The chain of communication would end between the utility companies and their members. Childs said that UDWI has about 16,000 members that it would need to communicate with if a blackout occurs. He assured that that message would be sent out quickly, however they themselves might not given an extended notice from MISO.
“It can get pretty tight when you do the rolling blackout,” Childs said. “We will keep our people informed but it’s hard to make guarantees on a timeframe if that really happens.”
Childs said that there are ways for people at home to help prevent blackouts. He suggested unplugging unused chargers or electronics and to turn off and unplug unused lights. He also mentioned to avoid doing laundry and running your dishwasher during peak hours.
“Don’t underestimate that little bit that you do to save energy,” Childs said.
WIN ENERGY REMC, based in Vincennes, has also warned that the strain on the electric grid could cause a need for rolling blackouts and echoes these tips in asking residents to reduce their energy usage.