Energy Conservation Encouraged as Frigid Weather Conditions Linger

Posted: February 14, 2021 at 8:38 pm



At 9:30 a.m. (central time) on Thursday, Feb. 18, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) indicated that its 14-state balancing authority area is no longer under an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA).

However, due to continuing high loads and other implications of severe cold weather, it will remain in a period of conservative operations until 10 p.m. (central time) Saturday, Feb. 20. A conservative operations status is declared when SPP determines there is a need to operate its system conservatively based on weather, environmental, operational or other events.

This designation follows an EEA Level 1 that was issued near 11 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, which indicated generation was currently sufficient to serve system-wide demand across the region and would fully satisfy operating reserve requirements.

Conditions have also returned to normal for Western Farmers Electric Cooperative’s (WFEC) transmission system.



At 6:20 p.m. (central time) on Feb. 17, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) declared an Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) Level 2. The alert will remain in effect until further notice due to weather concerns and fuel supply issues.

While there are no interruptions of service being called at this time, cooperative members should remain prepared, due to the uncertainty of the extreme conditions that can change quickly.

Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) and its member distribution cooperatives continue to urge all homes and businesses throughout SPP’s 14-state region to conserve electricity. Any efforts taken will make a difference in minimizing interruptions. The willingness of WFEC’s member cooperatives and their respective members to turn down their thermostats, delay usage of large appliances until off-peak times, turn off lights and keep doors, windows and blinds shut to retain heat in their houses, is helping to keep the power on. Your continued efforts to conserve energy are greatly appreciated.



As of 12:31 p.m. Tuesday, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) has downgraded the Energy Emergency Alert (EEA) to a Level 1. SPP previously declared a move from EEA Level 3 to EEA Level 2 at 11:30 a.m.

An EEA, Level 3 is declared when all available resources have been committed to meet obligations, and SPP is at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.

But, this area is certainly not out of the woods yet. Please keep in mind that SPP’s forecasts anticipate that due to high load and persistent cold weather, it is likely its system will fluctuate between EEA levels over the next 48 hours.

In order to maintain regional reliability, SPP continues to urge its member companies to instruct consumers to conserve electricity at home and work, and to follow their local utility’s directions regarding safety, conservation, and potential outages.

WFEC & SPP roles during load curtailments

Long-lasting and extreme cold weather and high load demand has created the necessity for Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) to implement controlled interruptions of service on several occasions during the past 48 hours to prevent further, more widespread and uncontrolled outages.

SPP, a regional transmission organization (RTO) that ensures the reliability of the bulk electric system, determines when conditions exist that require further action from power suppliers across their 14-state region. And, when load reductions are necessary, this is being done over the entire SPP footprint. It is not just a WFEC event, but a region-wide event.

In its role as an RTO and balancing authority, if SPP determines that their region does not have enough available generation to meet region-wide demand, they direct transmission-operating members (such as WFEC) to reduce energy use by the amount needed to bring supply and demand into balance. It is then the responsibility of each utility to lessen their electricity usage according to their own emergency operating plans. This is done by curtailing residential, commercial or industrial load at their discretion.

Oftentimes, there is no time for notification due to the emergency nature of the load shedding required.

For now, everything has returned to normal for WFEC and the transmission system is in good shape. However, a heightened awareness of weather conditions and load should still be observed, as the SPP system is still operating in adverse weather conditions across a 14-state area.

While the SPP has not yet indicated that short-term service interruptions will resume, cooperative members should remain prepared. Given the uncertainty of the situation, WFEC and its member cooperatives may not be able to communicate all interruptions prior to their start time. Because of this, you are encouraged to prepare for the possibility of service interruptions as these extreme conditions continue.

Any efforts to conserve energy will make a difference in minimizing interruptions. Your efforts are appreciated.

Simple, effective ways for end-use customers to meaningfully conserve energy include adjusting thermostats to cooler temperatures; scheduling appliances like dishwashers and washing machines to run during off-peak times or delaying cycles altogether; and keeping doors, windows and blinds shut to retain heat in their houses.

SPP acts as a balancing authority for a 14-state region, for all power suppliers, not just cooperatives, including investor-owned utilities, municipals and many others. And, this means balancing electricity production for use across the entire area. This is why energy conservation in one place, for example North Dakota, can have a meaningful impact on electric reliability in another state, such as Oklahoma and Texas.


Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), a generation and transmission cooperative based in Anadarko, Oklahoma and a member of the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, has requested the public to conserve electricity, beginning at midnight on Monday, Feb. 15 and for the following 48 hours to help mitigate any potential problems. The call for conservation was prompted by the continuing frigid weather conditions.

WFEC is the power supplier for 21 rural electric cooperatives across much of Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico. Cooperative customers in this region are encouraged to conserve electricity or natural gas, which will help ensure their safety and the integrity of the regional grid. Demand for electricity is expected to increase as the extremely cold weather lingers for the next several days. WFEC (and your respective local electric cooperative) is asking customers to conserve electricity, if health permits, by taking a few simple conservation steps, including:

  • Setting thermostats lower than usual.
  • Postponing use of major electric appliances such as stoves, dishwashers and clothes dryers until mid-day or after 9 p.m., when the demand for electricity decreases.
  • Turning off electric lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
Conserving electricity today will help bolster system reliability and ensure that adequate power supplies remain available during the extreme weather conditions already being experienced and expected over the next couple of days. WFEC will continue to carefully monitor the power supply conditions and keep the public informed if conditions change.
The declaration of conservative operations was first initiated by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization, 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. SPP’s analysis of current forecast data indicates that conditions may continue to tighten over the next several days because of persistent, widespread and extreme cold and are recommending that load-serving utilities take conservation measures to mitigate the risk of any widespread problems.