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BWL warns of potential 'rolling black-outs' due to energy shortages this summer

June 22, 2022
<p>Coins and a Lansing Board of Water and Light bill photographed on April 7, 2020.</p>

Coins and a Lansing Board of Water and Light bill photographed on April 7, 2020.

The Lansing Board of Water and Light, or BWL, warned in a press release on Tuesday that the company is preparing for potential 'rolling black-outs' this summer.

The Mid-Continent Independent System Operator, or MISO, is Michigan's power grid regulator. MISO will have to 'load-shed' if they see expected energy shortages during peak usage times due to hot weather. Load-shedding is purposefully shutting down electric power in some areas of a power-distribution system to prevent the entire system from failing when it is strained by high demand.

"The BWL has a legacy of generating plenty of energy to supply our customers, however, if directed by MISO to load shed, we’ll be required by law to follow instruction,” BWL General Manager Dick Peffley said in a statement. “We’re just as frustrated as customers will be at the potential for these black-outs, however, there’s unfortunately nothing within our control to prevent these from happening. I’m frustrated that despite BWL’s successful strategic planning for our energy needs, our customers still potentially face the consequences from the lack of power resources elsewhere.”

While BWL will issue a statement, customers will not receive a direct or advance notice of the outage if they are in an area affected by a black-out. These outages will last approximately 20 minutes.

According to MISO, the likely reasons for the energy shortage are electric production facilities retiring, an increase in energy usage from the pandemic and expected higher summer temperatures.

"We hope to minimize the impact to our customers as best as possible, but we’ll need their support to reduce their energy impact,” Peffley said.

BWL suggests that customers conserve energy to prevent black-outs by doing the following: limit air conditioner use, cook and do laundry later in the afternoon, turn off unneeded lights and electronics, charge electric vehicles after dark and defer large energy uses until the evening or early morning.

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