HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Cooperative Energy, Coast Electric’s wholesale power provider, is asking the consumer-members of its 11 electric distribution cooperatives to limit their electricity use until further notice. Forced generation outages, below-normal temperatures, and high demand is causing a critical shortage of electricity in parts of the southeastern United States. This voluntary action will hopefully reduce the strain on the electric system and prevent periodic power outages across the region. Cooperative Energy is making the request as directed by our reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
Cooperative Energy employees have taken proactive steps to prepare and protect the electric system from the extreme cold as well as placed additional power generation into service. The demand for electricity is currently at all-time high due to bitterly cold temperatures and the winter storm.
Consumers can limit electricity use by turning off all non-essential lighting, appliances, and electronics, as well as lowering thermostats to 68 degrees or less. If possible, consumers are urged to reduce the use of water heaters, electric ovens, washing machines, and dryers. This appeal does not apply to those with special medical needs.
MISO is making these requests to utilities throughout the mid-south. If this situation does not improve, the next step will be to enact plans that may result in a temporary loss of electricity for consumer-members on a rotating basis. The appeal to consumers to reduce electricity use is an effort to prevent the need for this action.
MISO comprises a pool of electricity generators and users that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. As reliability coordinator, MISO is responsible for monitoring the portion of the electric grid it oversees and providing instructions to its members regarding actions needed to maintain reliability in that portion of the grid. In extreme and unusual circumstances, such actions may include requests to limit electricity use or periodic outages.