Rolling blackouts halted for Barry Electric members

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Barry Electric Cooperative has announced rolling blackouts for its customers has been halted for the time being, though the situation may change again later.

“Rolling blackouts in our area have been paused at this time," a press release said. "Thank you to our members for your support and willingness to do your part to conserve. Please do not take this as an opportunity to resume normal usage as we are still under peak advisory. We will continue to keep our members posted should circumstances change."

Barry Electric told its members early Tuesday that its power supplier has informed it that load shedding is imminent, meaning there is a possibility for rolling blackouts throughout the Barry Electric service area.

“Our power supplier has informed us that as early as 8 a.m. today (Tuesday) load shedding is imminent,” a press release said. “We do not know the exact time of the rolling blackouts that could affect our service territory. We will do everything in our power to minimize the event to the best of our ability.”

A rolling blackout, or rotational load shedding, is an intentionally engineered electrical power shutdown in which electricity delivery is stopped. The goal is to reduce load by impacting a minimal amount of the system for a designated amount of time and then returning power to the affected area and moving to a different area of the system.

“The way this will be accomplished on our systems will be by de-energizing the entire substation and not just picking and choosing among individual members,” Barry Electric said. “The outage should last no longer than an hour, and then the substation will be re-energized and another substation in the system will be turned off.”

Officials said there is no simple answer for this situation other than an extreme amount of cold weather affecting a large region of the country at one time.

“One more thing to keep in mind is that the electrical grid is very complex and involves many parts, and the aforementioned cold weather is affecting multiples of these parts at one time,” the company said.

Barry Electric asked its members to continue to be safe and save energy when possible.

“Thank you for your continued support,” the company said.” The employees of Barry Electric Cooperative, KAMO Power and Associated Electric Cooperative take pride in providing safe and reliable energy to you, the member. Together, with all of us doing our part, we will make it through this event just like we have in the past.”

Background

On Monday, the Barry Electric Cooperative asked its members to consider the unintended consequences of high power usage during extreme weather situations, like the bitter cold residents are facing this week, as well as tips on how to combat the issue.

Barry Electric said due to extreme and extended cold temperatures, the Cooperative system and many utilities throughout the region continue to exceed all-time electricity demand.

“We are urging members to reduce their impact on the grid by reducing electricity use as much as possible,” the Cooperative said. “High power consumption levels across the grid have the potential to cause intermittent service disruptions.

“Taking steps to decrease your power usage at this time will help while we navigate this extreme weather event.”

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