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Power Shortages Possible

Emergency Preparedness & Response UPDATED JUNE 2023

Zeeland, Michigan – The Zeeland Board of Public Works (BPW) states that it is prepared to implement emergency response plans if directed to do so by the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO), the organization that oversees the power grid for 15 states, including Michigan. “Concerns remain again this year that electric system supply may be insufficient to fulfill peak demand during extreme weather conditions” said Andrew Boatright, General Manager of Zeeland BPW.

Our region is at an elevated risk of “insufficient operating reserves in above-normal conditions” according to a report released by the North American Reliability Corporation (NERC). This projected deficiency is due to contributing factors such as predicted above-average temperatures and aging or recently retired thermal resources.

“Quality service and reliability are vitally important to us. Therefore, we have made significant investments in our generation, transmission, and distribution systems and will continue to do so,” said Boatright. “Although the capacity shortfalls are part of a larger regional supply issue, we are prepared to follow MISO’s directives and implement our emergency response plans.” Those response plans involve suspending discretionary maintenance, operating on-site power generating units at maximum capacity, and appealing to the public for voluntary load reduction. “We hope to prevent or minimize potential disruptions to our customers to the extent that is within our control,” said Boatright.

In times of extreme electric demand with all other options exhausted, MISO may direct the Zeeland BPW and neighboring utilities to implement load-shedding, the deliberate shutdown of electric power in parts of a power-distribution system to prevent failure of the entire system. Zeeland BPW has prioritized critical services such as public safety and health care providers to remain uninterrupted during temporary or sustained power outages. “Critical care customers who depend on electricity for oxygen or other life-sustaining medical equipment should contact our Customer Relationship Specialists if they have not done so previously,” said Boatright.

In addition to response plans, Zeeland BPW is asking its industrial and residential customers to identify ways they can proactively conserve energy. “As a Public Power utility owned and operated by the community it serves, anything that affects our neighbors impacts us all,” said Bob Mulder, Zeeland BPW’s Electric Power Supply & Market Operations Manager. “If appeals for conservation are implemented, you can help by turning off unneeded lights and electronics and limiting the use of air conditioning by increasing the thermostat a few degrees,” Mulder continued. “These simple steps may seem insignificant for one customer, but these efforts can be impactful when done by many.”

“The electric utility industry is experiencing numerous transformative changes, including decarbonization and electrification,” explained Mulder. “These changes, paired with increased demand, above-average temperatures, and supply chain limitations, create challenges that require us to work together as new resources and technologies are employed.”
Zeeland BPW will share load-shedding emergency updates to its website, zeelandbpw.com.

Our Customer Service Office will be closed Monday, May. 27 in observance of Memorial Day.
If you have a utility emergency, call 616.772.2001