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Federal Grid Operator concerned over power outages ahead of Summer

The nation's power grid is under stress like never before and that could lead to potential periodic power outages in Missouri and Illinois.
Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 7:09 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) -The nation’s power grid is under stress like never before. And that could lead to potential periodic power outages in Missouri and Illinois.

That’s the prediction from MISO, the regional electric grid operator that oversees power in the 10 states.

“It’s going to effect everyone,” said Terri Bryant, Illinois State Senator 58th District.

State Senator Terri Bryant says the rolling blackouts that could happen this summer could be impactful. Not only to residential customers but also businesses and schools.

She says we are moving too fast closing coal fired plants, which generates much of the power in Illinois.

“We’re going to be closing prairie state energy in Marissa, which is the major supplier of energy for not only this part of the state but all the way up to Kendall County. And so municipalities depend on it, locals depend on it and the grid depends on that energy,” said Bryant.

Ameren doesn’t own the power plants, it only delivers the electricity. The company says it’s delivery system is stable and reliable; however, there are still concerns.

Ameren also announced that residential customers will see an increase of approximately $52/month and annually $626, that’ll go into effect in June.

And Bryant says she is calling on Governor Pritzker to get back into session to try and come up with some sort of solution for this.

“We need to take a look at this again and if nothing else, then we need to provide some kind of assistance, monetary assistance, to reduce the cost of energy or to help some folks pay for their energy bills,” said Bryant.

Ameren is encouraging their customers to begin taking steps today to prepare. Applying for financial assistance, enrolling in flexible payment programs, and implementing energy efficiency measures.

Wholesale power prices are going up. The causes are varied: Global market issues, inflation, the war in Ukraine, post-pandemic demand, and higher natural gas prices.

Plus, renewable generation is not filling the gap being left as fossil fuel plants close or plan to close. All of these factors are driving power prices higher.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the federal grid operator, said that renewable generation – solar and wind – has not kept pace with the generation capacity lost as fossil fuel plants have retired, leaving the region short of the energy needed when demand is at its peak.

“The reality for zones that do not have sufficient generation to cover their load plus their required reserves is that they will have increased risk of temporary, controlled outages to maintain system reliability,” said Clair Moeller, MISO’s president and chief operating officer, in a press release MISO issued on April 15.

Ameren Illinois is confident that their delivery system is stable and reliable and that the power will be there when it is needed this summer. Based on the MISO projections of generation capacity shortfall, Ameren Illinois has developed load reduction plans that avoid interruptions to residential customers, health care facilities and other critical customers.

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