Opinion

Grid Strain: Companies Issued Warnings on Power Across the Country

From outages to traffic accidents, it was a huge mess

It was inevitable: the grid strain from inclement weather across the nation had some power companies issue warnings of possible problems in heating homes during below zero temperatures. ISO New England, Duke Energy, PJM Interconnections, and Con Edison and others all issued warnings for customers that the grid strain could cause outages. That didn’t count the traffic accidents and deaths from freezing rain conditions. Whole communities were trapped in the frigid conditions. Erie county even issued a driving ban.

Utilities issued warnings for potential outages:

ISO New England:

We have declared a power caution for the region, and [are] calling upon reserve resources due to the unexpected loss of generation and imports.” Matthew Kakley, ISO New England spokesman 

Then there was Kentucky and Ohio, where a warning from Duke Energy was issued.

“We sincerely appreciate the cooperation and patience of our customers, who can help ensure the stability and reliability of the system for all by taking these steps,” said Tim Abbott, Duke Energy Midwest general manager of System Operations. “Public conservation can make a difference, and every little bit counts.” 

In the event that additional measures are necessary, Duke Energy would begin emergency temporary interruptions of service to customers to extend available power generation and help maintain operations until additional power is available. These outages would be temporary and rotated among customers and would continue until additional electricity is available and normal operation of the power grid resumes. Duke Energy

340,000 Duke Energy customers in North and South Carolina were without power on Saturday at noon, due to a blackout. Fortunately, crews worked hard to restore power.

PJM Interconnections in Pennsylvania was also concerned that unless conservation measures were taken by customers, the grid strain would be too much and cause outages. Their territory covers parts of “Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.”

The deadly cold snap hit right at Christmas, which made travel nearly impossible (or impassable as the case may be). Thousands of people couldn’t make it home for the Christmas celebrations. Portions of our family, who always come for Christmas, were blocked by severe freezing rain and numerous accidents.

Our son’s pickup covered in ice. “Sorry this is why we’re not going to make it…about a dozen accidents on the way here.”

Yes, best to stay off the ice-skating rink when cars are flipping around you. Other relatives were stuck at their mountaintop home instead of being with their family. They slid right through a stop sign and a red light – fortunately, they live in a rural area where there was little traffic.

Grid strain is a fact of life in severe winters, and this one was no exception. Is there a solution to that problem? Thousands in large cities were in an absolute mess and with no power, it created life-threatening situations. According to the Epoch Times, at least 16-17 people died as motorists were stranded or had accidents on the roadways around the country.

Weather-related car accidents around the country left at least 16 dead and hundreds stranded on ice and snowbound roads, according to media reports.

In Erie County, in upstate New York, about 500 motorists were stranded in their vehicles on Friday night into Saturday morning, with the National Guard called in to help with rescues, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told media. At least one person was found dead in a car, he said.

It will start to moderate west-to-east across America, with the high plains and Central U.S. getting back to normal by Tuesday, but it won’t warm up on the East Coast until Thursday or Friday, forecasters say. The Epoch Times

All in all, it was a treacherous Christmas nearly everywhere in the United States in 2022. As the temperature comes back to normal from west to east, we pray for everyone who had a rough Holiday. May there be a bit warmer weather coming for everyone.

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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