Mississippi’s largest electrical power supplier issues rolling blackouts to preserve power grid

Published 10:13 pm Tuesday, February 16, 2021

One day after warning customers to reduce electrical consumption to relieve pressure on the power grid caused by the winter weather, Entergy Mississippi began a series of rolling blackouts for select areas to help reduce the demand on the power grid.

Entergy initiated power outages for its customers across its four-state service area.

The company said it took the action as directed by its reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, as a last resort and in order to prevent more extensive, prolonged power outages that could severely affect the reliability of the power grid. The directive includes all of MISO’s south region, spanning from Arkansas to Texas to the Gulf South.

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Due to extremely cold temperatures over the last several days, the demand for electricity has reached an all-time high.

Shedding the load across the Entergy region is aimed to help ensure an adequate reserve margin, which helps ensure Entergy is better positioned to manage through additional extreme weather this week, the company said.

“Broadening the geographic area in which outages will occur, allows us to better manage the way in which we shed load.” said Willie Wilson, vice president in operations and system storm incident commander, Entergy. “We know this is an inconvenience and we apologize. The loss of generation in the entire region, combined with a high level of demand for electricity has caused a strain on the system.”

Entergy will work to limit the duration of each outage, but due to significant demand on the system and generation outages, options may be limited.

MISO directed the rolling blackouts to restore the system to normal operations as quickly as possible and will direct Entergy to stop these outages as soon as the power shortfall no longer threatens the integrity of the rest of the electrical power system.

MISO comprises a pool of electricity generators and users that stretches from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, and as reliability coordinator 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 these types outages.