Following reports of a series of intentional rolling blackouts throughout the state, the North Dakota Public Service Commission Tuesday issued a call to residents to conserve energy use where possible and warned people to prepare for more possible blackouts in the days ahead.
“North Dakota has two regional transmission organizations that coordinate and operate a multi-state electric grid,” the PSC explained in a news release. “Both the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) have issued alerts regarding grid challenges during peak demand times. They have indicated that controlled outages may occur in order to stabilize the transmission system and prevent failure of the entire system. These outages may occur with little to no notice to your utility, and are not managed by the North Dakota Public Service Commission, or any other state office or agency.”
The PSC noted rolling outages are normally used as a last resort to preserve the reliability of the electric system as a whole.
The PSC advised North Dakotans to try and conserve power use where possible, and offered a number of energy-saving tips:
- Turn down your thermostat as low as tolerable – 65 degrees or lower if possible. Turn off electric heat in your garage or shop if you can (do not turn off if there are water lines present).
- Turn things off. Make sure lights are turned off when leaving a room and only use lights when needed. Switch off televisions, computers, video game consoles, and cable boxes when not in use.
- Don’t run appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes washers/dryers. Clothes dryers are one of the biggest energy users in the home.
- Turn down the temperature on your electric hot water heater.
- Those who have alternative heating fuels, such as wood fireplaces, should consider using them to reduce electric or natural gas heating.
- Open curtains to let in sunlight during the day.
- Set ceiling fans to turn clockwise to push warm air down.
- Use low-temperature cooking methods and if using the oven, only open the door when necessary.