Albertans urged to conserve power amid prospect of rolling blackouts

By Calgary Herald, Calgary HeraldSeptember 3, 2013

Albertans are still being encouraged to reduce power consumption, as above-average temperatures continue to put pressure on the electricity grid.

The Alberta Electric System Operator issued a release last Thursday asking Albertans to turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, minimize the use of air conditioning, and run major appliances after 7 p.m. In addition to the strain created by the warm weather, a planned outage on the British Columbia intertie is preventing Alberta from being able to import power through its largest interconnection.

“We’re not in a position yet to have to issue an appeal, but we are tight right now. Our supply is quite low and our demand is high,” said AESO spokesperson Dawn Delaney.

Delaney said the situation is being closely monitored. If demand begins to exceed supply, the system has a reserve margin of power it can draw on but, at that point, AESO will have to issue an urgent call to Albertans to reduce consumption. Contingency plans are also in place that would allow AESO to order rolling blackouts, if necessary.

“We’re not at that point yet,” Delaney said. “We’re still framing this as more of a friendly reminder to Albertans.”

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