BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — U.S. regulators warn blackouts could plague a number of areas this summer, including North Dakota. We sat down with local officials to see how we’re staying prepared.
A blackout is defined as a total loss of power in an area due to damage in the power grid from the power stations to the power lines, according to techopedia.
The outage can last anywhere from a few minutes to any length of time, depending on the extent of the damage.
One recent headline across the United States, read: “blackouts could plague a number of areas this summer, as a combination of drought, heat, potential cyber-attacks, geopolitical conflicts and supply chain problems disrupts the power supply, according to a grim new report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.”
KX decided to check in to see how this would affect our state — if it will at all.
We sat down with the spokesman for the Montana-Dakota Utilities Company Mark Hanson.
“We’re are required to have sufficient generation, firm generation to meet our demand along with a reserve on top of that, and we meet that as do most of our neighbors, with Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, parts of Iowa, and Wisconsin; we all have excess power actually. And North Dakota is kind of a net exporter of power because the state produces more than it can use,“ Hanson said.
Hanson added that this is not a top concern here, not only because of the preparation but due to the location of their sites.
He says many are nervous when they see headlines like this because they immediately dive back to the winter storm outages in 2021, related to Texas.
But Hanson says that is not the case here.
“As in the wintertime, those cold temperatures are usually sustained for all day, all night. In the summer when it gets hot when that is when your demand goes up, that is generally, say 2 p.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. in a time frame like that, and then once the sun goes down obviously it cools overnight so you’re not looking at a 24-hour demand on that system, it’s usually a shorter time frame,” said Hanson.
And although anything can happen at any moment…
“A blackout is a possibility but like I say, it would be rare, “Hanson said.
Hanson added that even if there is a blackout, it will not be for too long.
“They would try to do it where not everybody is out for a long period of time in just one area so they call them rolling blackouts and so it would hit a certain service territory for maybe an hour and then kind of move around until they can get to a point where they have enough generation to meet the demand. Fortunately, the companies in the state have planned well, with the grid and the power that’s available,” he said.