Alliant Energy: Despite extreme heat in eastern Iowa, blackouts unlikely

While some businesses may be voluntarily giving up power there are no plans for any black-outs
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - As Eastern Iowa gets hotter, air conditioners are working harder, but an Alliant representative said people shouldn’t worry about rolling blackouts to protect the grid.

“Anytime that the temperature rises, the need for energy consumption also goes up,” said Melissa McCarville with Alliant. However, she said the energy company is prepared for the weather. “We’re monitoring the grid for all sorts of extreme weather conditions. We do this every day.”

Several school districts have already made changes to students’ first days back. College Community School District sent a letter to parents saying “due to excessive heat and high energy usage,” schools would get out three hours early Wednesday and Thursday. The letter went on to say district officials had been notified they would “likely” be on interruptible power those days.

“Alliant Energy offers an interruptible program for businesses,” said McCarville. “It’s a voluntary program that they can agree to be part of if they would like. It offers them the benefit of paying lower energy bills throughout the year knowing that in extreme weather conditions, or in extreme load conditions where we may need to pull more energy, they will lower their energy consumption to a predetermined firm level. And we usually give them a minimum of two hours notice when they need to reduce that energy.”

A rep for the College Community District said the district has been a part of the program since 1991 and has saved millions.

While some businesses may be voluntarily giving up power, there are no plans for any black-outs, but it’s not Alliant who would make those plans.

“We will listen to MISO. MISO directs the energy.”

MISO is the MidContinent Independent System Operator, which McCarville said manages the electrical grid for several states and parts of Canada.

“We are not an energy island in Iowa. Being part of the MISO system, we can pull energy from other members of MISO, as well, if we need it, and they can pull from us. So that is one benefit that we have, that energy on the grid can go where it’s needed,” said McCarville.

McCarville said that MISO has never had a planned power outage for Alliant customers due to extreme heat.