You must be using a Javascript-enabled browser to use this feature. Please enable Javascript or upgrade your browser.

Controlled Outage Information

Controlled Outage Information

  • Home   >  
  • Outages   >  
  • Controlled Outage Information

Transmission line image

HELP AVOID SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS BY CONSERVING ENERGY

Haga clic aquí para obtener información sobre cortes controlados

Extreme heat and cold can cause a tremendous strain on our electrical system. During these times, OPPD may be directed by the regional transmission organization to take some of our customer-owners offline for a short period of time to conserve power and prevent longer, larger outages.

This action, known as load shedding, impacts customers served by utilities in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) – 14 states stretching from North Dakota to the northern part of Texas – and under the guidance of state and federal regulators.

Our goal is to provide our customer-owners with as much notice as possible with these types of events. In an event, our customer service team would notify those customers who would be affected. General updates about the event can also be found on StormandOutage.com as well as Twitter and Facebook

Load shedding is a last resort measure. We know that this is challenging for those customer-owners who are affected, and we would not ask our customer-owners to go through such an event unless it was necessary to protect the larger electrical grid and prevent longer, larger outages.

In an event, we would ask our customer-owners to help by decreasing their energy usage: turn up thermostats so air conditioners run less or turn down thermostats so heat runs less, close fireplace dampers, seal windows and external doors, unplug electronic devices, turn off lights not in use, and delay things like doing laundry or running or dishwasher. We are grateful for our customer-owners’ help.

Have a Plan

Power interruptions impact us all, but have greater impacts on our elderly neighbors and those in medical need. If you use life-sustaining medical equipment that depends on electricity for operation, it’s important to have a plan for a power outage. Make sure all batteries are charged and ready to be used in case of an emergency. In the worst case event, such as a significant weather crisis, prepare to evacuate to an alternate location that will likely have power or has a backup generator. A plan should include at least two alternatives, including a friend or family member who lives in a different area as well as a nearby fire station or medical facility with backup generators.

In a medical emergency, call 911.

Conserving Energy is Key

OPPD asks customers to conserve energy and do their part to lessen the demand. Here are some ways our customers can help
Summer Tips:
  • Unplug items not in use. Although this won’t save a lot of energy in one home alone, it will when thousands of homes work together.
  • Use LED bulbs and turn off lights. Replace incandescent lights with LEDs to reduce heat generation and energy use. Turn off lights and use natural light to help decrease overall energy use.
  • Close curtains and blinds in direct sunlight to reduce the heat gain in a room by as much as 5-7 degrees. The cooler the room, the less your AC will run.
  • Use fans to create wind-chill effect. Before turning down the temperature on your thermostat, use fans to cool down via the wind-chill effect. This is more energy efficient than adjusting the thermostat to cool the entire home.
  • Place fans by vents to move air out into the room. If you have vents that are in the floor or low on a wall, place a fan by them to help move the air out into the room. The thermostat determines the temperature your cooling system provides to your home, not how hard the air comes out.
Winter Tips:
  • Unplug items not in use. Although this won’t save a lot of energy in one home alone, it will when thousands of homes work together.
  • Open curtains and blinds in direct sunlight to increase the heat gain in a room by as much as 5-7 degrees. This can help warm up a room instead of raising the temperature on the thermostat.
  • Rotate ceiling fans clockwise. To help evenly distribute heat in a room with a ceiling fan, flip the switch on the hub to make it rotate clockwise pulling warm air up and out to the exterior of the room.
  • Lower your thermostat a few degrees and dress more warmly or use additional blankets to stay comfortable. You can reduce your energy usage by 1-3% for each degree.
  • Turn lights off when possible and use natural lighting instead. LED light bulbs are very efficient, but every little bit of energy reduction counts when we work together.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is load shedding?

Load shedding, or rotating outages, are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service directed by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) when electricity-generating resources cannot meet the electricity demand in the region. Each electric utility is asked to reduce demand in an amount directed by SPP. Decisions on which areas are affected are made within minutes. Rotating outages are necessary as a last resort to maintain the reliability of the system.


Why does it happen?

Load shedding events happen when electricity demand exceeds supply and we are forced to reduce power demand to some customer-owners to prevent longer, larger outages and long-term damage to the power grid.


What is the Southwest Power Pool (SPP)?

The electrical grid is interconnected, and we have been relying on our neighbors (and they on us) well before becoming a part of Southwest Power Pool (SPP).

The Southwest Power Pool is the Regional Transmission Operator (RTO) to which OPPD is a member. SPP facilitates grid interconnection and collaboration through its multi-state region for the optimization of grid assets between electric utilities. There are nine RTOs spanning the United States. SPP, based in Little Rock, Ark., manages the bulk electric grid, operates a wholesale market and plans transmission on behalf of its 95 utilities and transmission companies.

RTOs oversee and coordinate transmission outages across the power grid.

The Reliability Coordinator role for SPP is the part of SPP that directs load reductions for each load-serving entity within the region. Without this type of load reduction, the electrical system across all of the eastern half of the U.S. could become unstable and all loads would be unable to be served. This coordination of reliability for the entire region is a large benefit for OPPD and all entities like OPPD that serve load. 


How does SPP help us during load shedding events?

All SPP members do their part. SPP is designed for members to support one another. If we have severe problems with our generation, as we did with the flooding in 2011 and 2019, or the polar vortex in 2021, we can lean on SPP and others in the group to keep us going and provide power to our customers. 


How can OPPD outages make a difference for the entire SPP footprint?

Just like the region-wide effort to conserve energy, the cumulative effect of the region-wide curtailment helps balance grid demand to the supply available.


Where can I get timely updates during an event?

The latest information can be found at stormandoutage.com. OPPD’s Twitter and Facebook accounts are also good sources for timely updates.


Do rotating outages happen only during the day?

No, these outages can happen at any time, day or night, when electricity-generating resources cannot meet the electricity demand in the region.


Could there be a chance of a city-wide blackout?

We work hard to prevent that. Our goal is to prevent longer, larger outages and protect the electrical grid across the Midwest. In an event, we would ask our customer-owners to help by decreasing their energy usage. A few things customers can do to help: turn up thermostats so that air conditioners run less or turn down thermostats so heat runs less, close fireplace dampers, seal windows and external doors, unplug electronic devices, turn off lights and delay things like doing laundry or running or dishwasher. 


Would the blackouts affect important infrastructure like streetlights?

We do not turn off streetlights during load shedding events. Streetlights are critical for safety and use a very small amount of electricity.


How are outage or service interruption areas chosen?

In emergency situations where interruptions to service are required, OPPD selects outage areas as equitably and effectively as possible. It has less to do with geography and more to do with the amount of load being requested to be curtailed by the Southwest Power Pool. OPPD is prepared for these types of situations and has designated 8 geographic "blocks" within its service area. In these controlled outage situations, the outages rotate through those areas, so as to ensure no one area is impacted more than another. This process also ensures the needed energy conservation goals are met. OPPD works to make sure key infrastructure, like hospitals, are impacted least.


How many people do such outages affect?

Outages during a load-shedding event limit power to a targeted group of customers. In an event, we would determine the approximate number of customer-owners who would be impacted in each of 8 geographic blocks across our service territory based the amount of load being requested to be curtailed by the Southwest Power Pool. Our goal is to prevent longer, larger outages, protect the larger electrical grid and get the power supply to a good level to support the demand. 


Why doesn't OPPD give customers more notice?

Load shedding is a last resort measure. OPPD works hard to protect supply and would not ask our customer-owners to go through this unless it was necessary to protect the larger electrical grid and prevent longer, larger outages.

We apologize that we are not able to give customer-owners more notice. Our customer service team notifies customers as soon as possible, but the outages can happen quickly, sometimes before we have an opportunity to notify customers.