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posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 in Company News

WAVERLY, Iowa (June 13, 2022) – While unlikely, rotating power outages for Waverly Utilities’ (WU) customers and other utilities across the Midwest is a possibility this summer.

Rolling blackouts, a controlled, temporary power outage that helps bring balance to the supply and demand of electricity in the market, has been the topic of focus and discussion with electric utilities recently.

Rolling blackouts happen when extreme heat and increased power demand coincide with insufficient power. The controlled outages usually last for about an hour at a time before rolling to the next customers.

“Waverly Utilities can self-generate during a rolling blackout with our multiple diesel generators.  This is as long as we have a consistent diesel fuel source,” stated Curt Atkins, WU Director of Operations.  “However, Energy Information Administration (EIA) has data pointing to potential shortfalls in diesel supplies in the near future.  That is where our concern lies.”

Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), told utilities whose power grid it serves, including WU, that it expects summer demand to increase 1.7% over last summer, while generation capacity has declined by 2.3%.

MISO said the decline in generation is due to fossil-fueled power plant retirements as the nation shifts more to renewable energy.

“Waverly Utilities is positioned well if a rolling blackout happens this summer as temperatures spike,” WU’s CEO Darrel Wenzel said.  “Customers are used to the threat of ice storms and other weather-related issues. This is new to Waverly and as long as fuel continues to be available, we are prepared.”

Should Waverly Utilities experience a rolling blackout, there are several ways customers can conserve energy.  One way is to turn the air conditioner to 78 degrees or higher. 

Another way to conserve is avoid using large appliances like a washer, dryer and dishwasher during peak usage hours.  For Waverly, those peak hours are typically 11:00am-7:00pm.

Customers with health issues requiring electrically-powered medical equipment should contact Waverly Utilities, if they have not done so already. WU will give life support customers special consideration when planned outages occur in your neighborhood and alert our employees to your needs.

“We feel a blackout is highly unlikely for Waverly, but we have prepared for the worse and wanted to make our customers aware of the possible situation,” stated Wenzel.