Electric Interruption

We’re asking members to reduce electricity consumption if they can in a collective effort to help provide relief to our Midwest electric grid. Adams-Columbia may be directed to curtail load causing members to experience electric interruptions this summer.


What are electric interruption events?

Electric interruptions are temporary power outages that occur when there is too much demand on the regional electric grid. In our case, this includes the Midwest region of our country. Weather in other areas of the Midwest may dictate when electric interruptions happen and is out of our control. Interruption events may be required based on regional electricity demands, not based on ACEC’s distribution system.


Who initiates the electric interrupt events?

Midcontinent Independent System Operators (MISO). Alliant Energy, our wholesale power provider, is part of MISO. MISO is responsible for managing the generation and transmission of electricity within 15 U.S. states and Manitoba, Canada. They ensure the right amount of electricity is being generated, not just for Alliant Energy customers, but for all of the electric companies that are part of MISO. However, when there is more demand for electricity than normal, MISO alters their operations to avoid overloading the electric grid resulting in the call for energy curtailment (electric interruptions).


How do they happen?

When abnormally hot weather occurs, home cooling and other electronics are working overtime to ensure they are doing their job. For example, home thermostats may be set to 71 degrees in the summertime. When the outside temperature reaches high 90’s, your home cooling system is working much harder than it typically would to ensure your home is staying at the cool 71 degrees.

Extremely hot days in the forecast and increased peak demand lead to an alternative plan of action for MISO, who has a multi-step action plan for these peak demand times. Each step is carefully coordinated as the need for electricity escalates.


How long will it last?

If we receive indication from Alliant Energy that we need to reduce our electric load, we hope to receive more detailed information on the duration of the electric interruption. At this time, we estimate that the duration of the outage may last 1-4 hours.


What can ACEC control?

We communicate to our members the importance of reducing electricity consumption to our members. We continue to work closely with Alliant Energy, who we purchase power from, to minimize the impact on our members. Asking our members to decrease electricity consumption is not a decision we take lightly; electric interruptions will only occur if ACEC is directed to do so for the safety of the regional grid.


Is there anything Alliant Energy can do?

Alliant Energy has interruptible customers who have agreed to have their power reduced if needed. They also schedule generator outages to avoid expected periods of high demand and can also encourage customers to voluntarily reduce their energy usage during peak demand.

Alliant Energy and ACEC’s goal is that nobody loses power, but periodic – and temporary – power outages are an extreme final step that, if MISO deems necessary, may be declared to prevent widespread outages when there is too much demand on the system. If MISO initiates this step, these outages, which could last a few hours, would occur across the MISO region in a way that minimizes the impact to customers and considers critical services such as hospitals.


What if I have a medical device or need a cooling center?

Continue to use electrical devices that are necessary for life support. Please consider making alternate plans in case interruption in electric service becomes necessary. To locate a cooling center near you, which may offer electric hook up, please visit 211’s website.

Remember, electric interruptions are out of ACEC’s control. Without these interruptions, ACEC risks our entire system overloading, causing even bigger problems for all of our members.


What can members do to reduce their energy?

Here are a few tips to reduce your energy during the dog days of summer:

  • Instead of using your dryer, hang clothes outside to dry
  • Grill meals outside instead of cooking indoors
  • Reduce the temperature of your water heater
  • Increase your thermostat a few degrees
  • Close blinds and avoid opening exterior doors to keep cool air indoors
  • Use a power strip to turn off electronics that aren’t being used
  • Wait until later in the evening to use bigger appliances and electronics that required electricity to avoid the peak demand period

In addition to reducing your electric consumption, have an emergency kit ready as you would with any other power outage situation. Items you may want to keep in your emergency kit include:

  • Emergency phone numbers
  • Flashlights
  • Water and nonperishable foods
  • Blankets
  • First-aid kit
  • Common tools
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Clothes
  • Items for your pets

We appreciate your cooperation and greatly appreciate your reduction of electricity during peak demand times.