Will Michigan Residents Experience Power Outages During The Hottest Part Of This Summer?
We may find ourselves sighing with relief that winter has finally broken, and the sun is coming out to warm us all up. But, we may be wishing for that snow to return when Michigan reaches forecasted record high temperatures this summer.
And while, a hot summer sounds like it could be a good time for some, it won't be a great time for Michigan's power grid, which currently is not rated to withstand the electricity expected to power everyone's air conditioning and homes this summer.
MISO is the operator of the electric grid that Michigan is on, and going into the warmer months, they are warning that there may not be enough electricity to go around this summer, due to the higher than average temperatures. That could mean controlled outages as an emergency measure.
How short are we on our power needs?
Based on forecasted temperatures this summer, Michigan is expected to need 124 Gigawatts at our peak power needs, but unfortunately we only have 119 GW of regularly available generation.
What happens if we hit our peak power usage this summer?
MISO said that it does have a plan in place if we hit our peak power output. While, it has never taken the step of implementing controlled outages in Michigan.
However, if we need to have planned outages to relieve the grid, MISO said they have a large number of customers on voluntary interruptible rates whose service can be curtailed, if necessary, to maintain system reliability.
What are they doing to fix this problem?
MISO currently has plans to bring a new 1,150 MW gas plant online in June. While, this will help with the deficit, it may not be enough.
What is the best way to conserve energy without giving up comfort?
There are several things you can do to help keep energy usage down without giving up your comfort.
If you're able: Get a smart thermostat. It will allow you to control your home temperature while you're away, allowing you to cool your home right before you return, instead of paying to blast A/C when you're not home to enjoy it. Plus- You can save 10% a year on your cooling bills by setting your thermostat just 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit higher for 8 hours each day.
You can also use a celling fan and lower your blinds. If you block the hot daytime sun from coming in, you will be able to maintain a cooler temperature without as much on the stress on the grid.
So expect this summer to be a hot one- and if you're able to help relieve the strain on the system, we may all have a cooler time.