Mantained cold prompts unusually early grid alert across Alberta

As the province begins another day with extremely cold temperatures, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has issued an unusually early grid alert, asking Albertans to conserve energy.

AESO issues a grid alert when the power system is under stress and is preparing to use emergency reserves to meet demand. AESO also named an unplanned outage as one cause for Wednesday’s grid alert.

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Consumers are asked to reduce their use of electricity to mitigate the risk of having to take more serious emergency measures like rotating power outages.

“If we can knock off a few hundred megawatts, whatever the number is, that can make a big difference in reducing the strain on the grid and helping us get over that hump,” said Leif Sollid, communications manager at AESO.

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Grid alerts are almost always issued in the evening between 4 and 7 p.m.

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There a number of things Albertans can do to conserve energy during a grid alert, which include:

  • Turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances
  • Minimize the use of air conditioning/space heaters
  • Delay the use of major power-consuming appliances such as washers, dryers and dishwashers until after peak hours
  • Use cold water for washing clothes — most of the energy used goes to heating the water (only running full loads helps too)
  • Delay charging electric vehicles and/or plugging in block heaters
  • Cook with your microwave, crockpot or toaster oven instead of the stove
  • Limit the use of kitchen or bathroom ventilation fans
  • Use motion-detector lights in storage areas, garages, and outdoors when possible
  • Work on a laptop instead of a desktop computer (laptops are more energy-efficient than desktop units)

This grid alert comes just over 14 hours after the last one ended on Tuesday around 6 p.m.

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