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Media Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 15, 2021 Media Contacts: Derek Wingfield (dwingfield@spp.org; 501-614-3394) Meghan Sever (msever@spp.org; 501-482-2393)

Southwest Power Pool initiates controlled outages to maintain system reliability

Little Rock, Ark. — As extreme cold weather persists across the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP) balancing authority area, electricity use has exceeded available generation. The grid operator declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3 at 10:08 a.m. Central time on Feb. 15, when it was forced to begin relying on required reserve energy. After exhausting usage of available reserve energy, SPP has now subsequently directed its member utilities to implement controlled interruptions of service to prevent further, more widespread and uncontrolled outages.

“In our history as a grid operator, this is an unprecedented event and marks the first time SPP has ever had to call for controlled interruptions of service,” said SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell. “It’s a last resort that we understand puts a burden on our member utilities and the customers they serve, but it’s a step we’re consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse, which could result in uncontrolled outages of even greater magnitude.”