February 15, 2021

SPP elevates Energy Emergency Alert to Level 3 as grid conditions tighten further

Little Rock, Ark. — Persistent and extreme cold weather has led to region-wide electricity use that exceeds available generation across the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) service territory. At 10:08 a.m. central time on Monday, Feb. 15 the grid operator declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 3, signaling that its operating reserves are below the required minimum. SPP has directed its member utilities to be prepared to implement controlled interruptions of service if necessary.

“Controlled service interruptions are a last resort, and a step we take only when necessary to safeguard continued reliability of the regional grid,” said SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell.

If necessary, SPP will instruct our members’ transmission system operators to reduce electricity demand by an amount needed to prevent further and uncontrolled power interruptions. Should that occur, individual utilities will determine how best to curtail their use by the required amount based on their own emergency operating plans.

While SPP and our member companies work to restore the regional power grid to full capacity, consumers are urged to reduce electricity use, both at home and work.

SPP declared a period of conservative operations for our entire balancing authority area at midnight central time on Feb. 9. Then, on Feb. 14, we declared an EEA Level 1 effective at 5:00 am central time on Monday, Feb. 15, and subsequently an EEA Level 2 at 7:22 am on Monday, February 15. 

The declaration of conservative operations signaled to SPP’s member company utility operators that they should operate conservatively to mitigate the risk of worsening conditions. An EEA1 signals that SPP foresees or is experiencing conditions where all available resources are scheduled to meet firm load obligations and that we may be unable to sustain its required contingency reserves. An EEA Level 2 required SPP to direct its member companies to issue public conservation appeals.

We thank the public for their cooperation and understanding during this power grid emergency. Follow us on Twitter or visit SPP.org for updates.

About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.


Derek Wingfield, 501-614-3394, dwingfield@spp.org