The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) will be launching a joint inquiry into bulk-power system operations during the current extreme winter conditions faced in Arkansas, as well as throughout the southern United States and the Midwest.
The agencies will be investigating the issues bulk-power system have faced during past week, including power outages. According to a press release, the two agencies plan to partner with other federal agencies, states and utilities to determine the problems facing the bulk-power system as well as solutions.
In an earlier statement, FERC chairman Rick Glick said that the agency was monitoring the weather conditions and the impact that it was having on utilities and the overall electric grid. He said that agency officials were in contact with Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and Southwest Power Pool (SPP).
“In the days ahead, we will be examining the root causes of these reliability events, but, for now, the focus must remain on restoring power as quickly as possible and keeping people safe during this incredibly challenging situation,” he said in a statement.”
As temperatures have dipped well below freezing during the ongoing winter storm and electrical usage has risen, bulk-power system operators have directed utilities to ask customers to limit electrical usage during specific hours, particularly during the evening hours.
On Tuesday evening, multiple utilities conducted rolling outages. Entergy, the Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Conway Corp and Benton Utilities all instituted forced rolling outages on Tuesday.
Entergy has already requested that customers limit electrical usage on Wednesday to decrease demand at the request of MISO. If electrical demand does not decrease, the utility will begin rolling outages throughout Wednesday evening.