Rolling blackouts are temporary power outages that help bring balance to the supply demand of electricity in the market. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which balances electricity production and use for a 14-state region including Kansas, has declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 a few times over the last few days of severe weather. Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, our generation and transmission provider, belongs to the SPP.
The Level 3 declaration requires the SPP to direct its member companies, including Sunflower, to implement controlled interruptions of service, when called upon. Wheatland Electric started implementing controlled interruptions of service early Tuesday morning (Feb. 16, 2021). This is an unprecedented event and marks the first time SPP has ever had to call for controlled interruptions of service.
We want our members to know that controlled interruptions of service are done as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole.
We understand that the controlled interruptions affect so many of you in the most significant ways—for your health needs, business needs, heating needs, plumbing needs, livestock needs, etc. Electricity is an integral element that powers our lives, and we understand the burden outages put on you, our members. If this was not critical to maintaining our electric grid, we would not be asking this of you. This is a step the SPP and power providers across the region, including ours, are consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse.
Below is detailed information regarding the Energy Emergency Alert Levels issued by the SPP:
Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 (EEA1) — An EEA1 signals that SPP foresees or is experiencing conditions where all available resources are committed to meet firm load obligations and that the SPP may be unable to sustain its required contingency reserves.
Energy Emergency Alert Level 2 (EEA2) — An EEA2 signals that SPP is no longer capable of providing its expected energy requirements and is now energy deficient. EEA2 requires the public appeal for energy conservation efforts.
Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 (EEA3) — An EEA3 is triggered if SPP has to utilize operating reserves below the required minimum or ask member companies to implement controlled service interruptions (rolling blackouts).
We understand that service interuptions are not ideal. We expect most controlled outages to last approximately 60 minutes. If your outage lasts for more than 90 minutes, we ask you to please contact your local Wheatland Electric office during regular business hours or call 1-800-ON-AGAIN after hours.
We are asking all our Wheatland members for their patience during this unique challenge and to please conserve electricity. Please continue to follow us on social media for the latest updates and information.