Balance on the power grid rests on the ability of utilities to provide electricity exactly when we need it. What happens if that balance is shifted?

The magic of the electric power grid is the precise balance it must maintain to provide the exact amount of electricity (generation) needed to meet the needs of all consumers connected to the grid (load). Our wholesale power provider, Dairyland Power Cooperative, has employees working 24/7 with the regional system operator (MISO) to ensure this balance. At MiEnergy, there are programs and resources in place to support these efforts.

MISO uses Max Gen procedures to address grid restraints. MiEnergy issues Peak Alerts when there is high demand on the grid. Learn more below.

Max Gen vs Peak Alert

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If there is a severe imbalance between supply and demand for electricity, a Max Gen Warning is issued by MISO to Dairyland Power and MiEnergy. A warning is just that, a warning that MiEnergy may need to reduce its electric load. Devices on energy management may be activated, and it could happen with little notice. A warning may not advance to an event.

A Max Gen Event occurs when there is a shortage of generation resources and the amount of electricity on the grid is critical and may not be able to meet demand. Members should reduce all non-essential electricity use to avoid serious consequences to the grid's power supply because it could advance to rolling blackouts. Last June, MISO advanced to a Max Gen Event, and MiEnergy's members with devices on energy management programs had them activated. However, the event did not escalate to activation of energy management programs outside normal parameters or rolling blackout situations.

You may occasionally hear a message on the radio from your cooperative, see posts on its social media pages or see a local media story when a Peak Alert is issued. At those times, we encourage our members to take note of the important message and conserve electricity. Normally, there is advanced warning of an hour or two. Members with devices on the co-op's energy management programs will have them activated.

A Peak Alert is issued when there is high demand for electricity on the regional grid. MiEnergy asks members to conserve electricity from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Elevated peak demand leads to higher power costs. Members can help keep electricity rates stable and affordable by shifting electricity use to after 6 p.m.