If we experience an energy shortfall that is severe enough to create rolling blackouts, Clark County REMC has a plan for which areas will be disconnected. To understand how, it helps to know what’s happening behind the scenes.
The operator for the electric grid in the Midwest is called MISO. They’re responsible to making sure that all the energy being demanded by homes and businesses is supplied by power plants. If they see that there isn’t enough power being generated, they will command power suppliers to “shed load.” In other words, power suppliers need to find ways to reduce the demand so the whole grid doesn’t collapse. The power supplier for REMC members is Hoosier Energy. Hoosier will get the notification, and will instruct distribution co-ops like Clark County REMC to reduce demand by a certain amount (3 megawatts, for example). It’s now up to us to find a way to get rid of 3 megawatts.
That’s when our plan goes into action. First, we will switch our headquarters to generator power so that we aren’t contributing to the high demand (we’re all in this together!). Next we will ask large companies with generators to do the same, since one large business might consume the same electricity as 200 homes. If those steps still aren’t enough to meet our requirements (3 megawatts in this example), we will shut off power to small sections of our members, but only for 30 minutes at a time.
So how do we determine which sections to disconnect? First, we do our best to avoid community and emergency services like medical facilities, police and fire. We constantly monitor electricity demand so that we disconnect the fewest number of homes as possible. Once they’ve been off for 30 minutes, we bring their power back on and disconnect another group. We will repeat that process until the emergency is over.
These emergencies can escalate quickly, but we will do all we can to give you advance notice and keep you informed. To make sure you get our alerts, call our office and update your phone number and email address.