Could rolling blackouts happen in Michigan? It’s possible

Could rolling blackouts happen in MI?
Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:04 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Freezing temperatures all across the country are causing major disturbances and rolling power blackouts. But could the blackouts continue into states like Michigan? It’s a possibility.

“It’s possible that other states like us can be asked to reduce our energy usage a little bit just to balance out the entire general region,” says Brian Wheeler, a spokesperson for Jackson-based Consumers Energy.

Thousands in other states across the country are without power in sub-zero temperatures. Frozen wind turbines are a big part of the problem nationwide. Energy companies are trying rolling blackouts---meaning they de-energize a circuit for a period of time... then re-energize it.

Consumers Energy and the Michigan Public Service Commission are a part of Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a regional grid operator. MISO provides power to states in the Midwest and stretches as far south as Louisiana. The states share the same energy supply. In rare cases, they may ask a company like Consumers to use less energy.

“We’re hopeful and we’re confident that we’re going to get through today, but if we do get that request from the regional grid operator, we will be sure to pass it along to everybody,” Wheeler says.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light (LBWL) however is not on this MISO regional grid and creates energy from more than wind. LWBL is confident their customers are going to be ok too.

“The Board of Water and Light has energy from different sources. We have solar, we have natural gas, and also sell fossil fuels, so we have a very diverse portfolio,” says Dick Peffley with LBWL. “So, all our eggs aren’t in one basket.”

Consumers Energy says rolling blackouts are unlikely to happen, and before Consumers would even try them, they’d first ask people to reduce their usage.

So far, we haven’t seen that happen, but we’re monitoring the situation in Texas and in the states to the south to be sure,” Wheeler adds.

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