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Electricity use reaches power grid capacity

Energy providers in Louisiana and Mississippi reached peak power capacity early Wednesday, putting communities at risk of losing power during one of the coldest days on record.

Midcontinent Independent System Operator South, a regional electrical transmission organization that operates the power grid for Louisiana and Mississippi along with Arkansas and a portion of Texas, controls energy flow to providers like Entergy, Southwest Mississippi Electric Power Association and the Louisiana Energy & Power Authority.

MISO alerted several energy providers early Wednesday that the power grid had reached maximum generation and, if the load could not be lightened, the company may have to “shed” some communities in order to stabilize the grid.

Mark Brown, communications advisor at MISO, said conditions were improving late Wednesday and the burden on energy companies should lighten soon. The maximum energy event was in effect, he said, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Brown said MISO South must manage challenges created by both power plant outages as well as dropping temperatures.

As the day progressed, however, Brown said temperatures rose and conditions improved for the electrical grid.

Brown said Wednesday’s power consumption set a new record for MISO South at 32,000 megawatts, the highest peak for a winter increase yet. The average energy demand for MISO South in the winter — excluding high load days — is 23, 400 megawatts.

Though the high-energy consumption threat ended early Wednesday, Brown said MISO expects similar circumstances in the evening and morning chills in the coming days.

The Natchez Democrat