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Power outages likely if there is an extreme weather event this winter

We are all wondering if our power grid is ready for the winter after the deadly February winter storm. KENS 5 looks at the reliability forecast.

The hope is the lights and heat will stay on this winter. 

Today, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC, released its winter assessment.  It said power will stay on in normal winter conditions.

NERC stresses another February storm event is unlikely this winter. Yet, our power grid might not be in much better shape if one does hit. 

NERC’s forecast shows in an extreme winter weather event, our power grid would be unable to meet about 40 percent of demand. That means there will be more power outages. Yet, if power plants are winterized and ready, outages will not be as bad.

“Relentless preparation is in order and if we follow that plan, the outage rates can be improved and the situation would not be as catastrophic,” said Mark Olson of NERC.

Winterization of power plants is mostly voluntary this year. NERC said many plants have not completely winterized. It is best to be on the safe side and prepare now for the worst.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC also released its winter storm report this week. It stressed the natural gas supply chain needs to also be winterized so fuel can get to power plants. 

FERC also said while it has no jurisdiction on natural gas prices that rose significantly during the February storm, it does have the authority to investigate price manipulation.

We are still waiting for ERCOT’s (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) winter assessment that normally comes out the first week of November.