MISO Maximum Generation Warnings

MISO Maximum Generation Warnings


Leading up to Rolling Blackouts: Understanding Peak Alerts and a Max Gen Event.


First, we want to assure you that, under normal conditions, the grid will be just fine.

The heat of summer increases the risk of power outages in parts of the U.S. and Canada. Dairyland Power Cooperative, Riverland Energy’s wholesale power supplier, is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for operating the power grid in 15 states and Manitoba, Canada. In May, MISO made it evident that there is an increased possibility of rolling blackouts due to an unbalance in power generation at peak times and usage during those peak times.


MISO’s Executive Director recently stated, “MISO’s northern and central regions are at heightened risk for controlled load sheds or planned blackouts.” MISO may activate emergency plans, resulting in load shedding (reducing the electricity demand) outside of seasonal full load control hours (2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the summer). If the power grid is nearing capacity, members will be asked to begin conservation measures such as limiting the use of air conditioning. Members should also delay using dishwashers, washers, dryers, and other nonessential electricity items. These measures take some pressure off the grid to help keep the lights on and avoid blackouts.


Our power supplier, Dairyland Power Cooperative, has enough generation capacity to reliably supply Riverland Energy and the 24 other cooperatives on their system. However, being interconnected to the entire Midwest changes electricity supply and demand.


Per MISO requirements, the grid operator must declare an emergency alert called a Max Gen Alert when system frequency cannot be maintained above certain levels and durations. When conditions warrant, MISO will instruct all power providers to begin shedding load to align the electricity demand with the available power supply. We may then be required to rotate outages to help preserve the system's reliability.


Cooperative members who depend on electricity for oxygen or other life-sustaining medical equipment should have a plan in case of a power outage. Owning a backup generator can provide peace of mind.


Riverland Energy will make every effort to keep our members in the loop and what to expect and when to expect it, but once a Max Gen Alert is issued, members should assume their power could go out without advance warning. Efforts will be made to provide advance notice, when possible. Once notified by MISO to shed load, the cooperative is obligated to respond within minutes. Therefore, advanced notice to members can be a challenge.


Peak Alerts

A limited number of times throughout the summer months, Dairyland Power Cooperative will approach a period when energy use is expected to be very high, and we’ll issue a “Peak Alert”. This aims to reduce electricity use during the time of day when power use peaks. This could be winter mornings or evenings when heaters are working overtime. Or late summer afternoons when the temperatures are the highest.


The idea behind this is to shift energy usage away from the times when demand is highest. Doing so could save the Cooperative and its member’s significant money over time by keeping the wholesale power costs low and stable. This is voluntary and benefits all members.


When do peak alerts occur?

Peak alerts typically occur in the warmest summer afternoons, usually between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. During the months of June, July, and August. There will be a maximum of nine peak energy events, with no more than four in a given month. In the winter, peak alerts happen between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.


How can I help during peak times?

Members are encouraged to avoid using appliances, adjust their thermostats, and turn off unnecessary items when a Peak Alert has been issued.


If peak alerts do not resolve the demand issue, that is when we implement an emergency load reduction plan.


The difference between a Peak Alert and Max Gen Alert:

  • Peak Alerts are issued when energy use is expected to be very high. It does not mean there is a shortage of power, but it means we can possibly avoid significant costs. Avoid using appliances, adjust thermostats, and turn off non-essential items. (Notice of peak alerts are typically posted on the website and Riverland Energy Cooperatives Facebook. Peak Alerts are also broadcast on local radio stations.)


  • Max Gen Alerts will be issued when MISO informs us to reduce energy use due to high grid stress. A rolling blackout could eventually occur and may happen without advanced notice during this alert. Reduce all unnecessary usage. (Members will be notified by e-mail and text message if a Max Gen Alert comes in. We will also alert members on our website, social media, and radio stations. This is why it’s so important to have updated contact information on your account.)


What's powering your home?

Electricity is delivered to our homes & business through a complex network of electric generation sources and thousands of miles of electrical lines. MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) is responsible for operating the power grid across 15 U.S. states, including Wisconsin. . To view which power generating sources are carrying the load to your home, click below for a real-time display.

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