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Regional Energy Emergencies

There might be circumstances when demand for electricity on the regional grid outside of CWLP is greater than what can be generated or supplied. Generator outages, weather impacts, transmission trouble or any number of factors can influence electric resources available to meet electric demand. In the event of a projected or existing energy shortage, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) — the agency that regulates the flow of electricity over a 15-state region of the electric grid (including most of Illinois) —will direct its member utilities to take steps to reduce electric usage by asking for voluntary conservation and to add all available generation resources in order to avert the potential for rolling blackouts or temporary, protective power outages. Protective power outages such as these are critical during energy emergencies to avert strain on the electric system and balance the electric grid. An unbalanced electric grid, where available generation doesn’t match electric load (demand) in the system, can cause total blackouts and electric system damage with much more severe consequences as well as longer outage durations.

In a regional energy emergency and as a last resort, if conservation and other load reducing measures to relieve stress on the electric grid aren’t successful, CWLP and other MISO-member utilities would implement rolling blackouts as protective power outages to avert total blackouts. This would be done at the direction of MISO to all impacted utilities. Read more about MISO’s Energy Emergency Procedures here. By CWLP’s electric system design, the utility can implement these outages in approximately 15 minute increments, rotating across different circuits of the city at different times.

Electric Conservation Tips During Energy Emergencies

What Are Some Ways Customers Can Reduce Energy Usage?
Before getting to the emergency level of needing rolling blackouts, CWLP may issue a Conservation Watch (Yellow) is an advisory CWLP could issue to prepare customers there may be a need to reduce electric usage. The next level up would be to issue a Conservation Warning (Orange) to ask its customers, if health and safety isn’t of concern, to begin reducing electric usage during particular high electric usage hours or when a lack of generation or transmission constraints exist on the Midwest energy grid.



General Year Round Measures
• Turn off lights where not needed.
• Postpone major appliance use, such as with washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.
• Turn off and disconnect electronics not in use such as computers, printers, copiers, coffee makers, televisions and charging devices.
• Turn off the circuit breakers for all electric water heaters. The water in the tank will remain hot for hours and the breaker can be turned back on later when reheating is necessary.
• Postpone any laundry and dishwasher use where possible.
• Turn off any stand-alone dehumidifiers, at the source or by circuit breaker.
• Reduce lighting for showroom displays and exterior signage wherever possible.
• Shut down all non-essential pumps, motors, processes, etc. and/or facilities where possible.
• Unplug or turn the power off to water fountains that dispense chilled water. Most fountains will still dispense water without power.

Cooling Season Measures
• Set thermostat to 78 degrees or higher
• Use floor or ceiling fans to cool off in occupied rooms
• In larger buildings, increase chilled water supply temperature by up to five degrees.
• Shade west-facing windows in the afternoon to reduce solar heat gain.

Heating Season Measures
• Turn off all electric heaters where possible.
• For electrically heated buildings, decrease interior temperature settings to 68 degrees or more, if possible.
• Allow direct sunlight to enter windows to increase solar heat gain in the building.

CWLP Advisory Levels

Steps Before Protective Power Outages

How would CWLP implement Protective Power Outages?

Power Outage Safety

Why Is Midwest Facing Energy Emergencies?

FAQS Read More