In the control room of BESOC, the nerve center of BWL, staffers monitor every power circuit supplied by BWL in the Lansing area. That blinking light means there's trouble at a substation.
"It doesn't mean catastrophic, but it's something we have to pay attention to," spokesperson Mark Nixon says.
And trouble, there's a lot of as air conditioners strain the system region wide.
The all-time peak usage for BWL is 555 megawatts in a day. Monday, they used 539, and a spokesperson says they were likely to pass 555 on Tuesday.
As a result, this control room spent most of Tuesday at what they call a Level 2 alert. "If it gets to Level 4, we may have go to rolling brownouts to prevent the massive system crash like in 2003," Nixon says.
Consumers Energy also saw record use in the midst of this Midwest swelter.
"We don't make a plea very often to customers to take these steps," says Consumers spokesperson Terry DeDoes "If everyone conserves just a little bit, they'll be enough for everybody."
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