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Power companies warn 'rolling blackouts' possible this summer

Experts Predict Rolling Blackouts Amid Summer Heat
Experts Predict Rolling Blackouts Amid Summer Heat 02:03

MINNEAPOLIS -- As Minnesotans enjoy Friday's sunshine and low humidity, we also need to get ready for the heat. The state will have some extremely hot days coming up, beginning on Sunday. And with that comes the concern homes will be using too much energy as air conditioners work overtime.

Some experts are predicting that energy demand could exceed energy supply. 

"The system is built and designed for these hot stretches in the summer," said John Marshall, Xcel Energy's regional vice president for Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Marshall said Xcel Energy is part of a regional pool of energy called the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). Fifteen states and 42 million customers are a part of it.

Marshall said the pool creates a balanced system, which is one reason he's not overly concerned about rolling blackouts. 

"It would take a lot of different things to have happen. In fact, there are multiple steps and different ways in which you can call upon additional energy to respond to the increased consumption of energy during hot stretches," said Marshall. 

If need be, Xcel said they can also rely on homeowners to help when energy usage goes up.

Saver switch is a voluntary program. It cycles out air conditioners for a few minutes, every hour to reduce the power load, but it's something Xcel hasn't had to use in years. The goal for energy suppliers like Xcel Energy, CenterPoint Energy, and Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association is to keep things running smoothly, even while the heat index rises. 

"There are lots of generation resources out there to balance it," said Marshall. 

Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is also part of the energy pool that can be utilized. 

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