News 9 Explains: What Is The Southwest Power Pool?

Monday, February 15th 2021, 10:54 pm

The rolling power outages Monday, throughout the metro, came under the direction of the Southwest Power Pool. They manage electrical grids over 14 states throughout the central-Midwest.

The company's been in operation since the 40s.

They said for the first time in history they found themselves in an emergency situation.

“There will be discussions no doubt about it. Whether or not we need to change our policy, develop more stringent reserve requirements and all kinds of things to ensure to continue to keep the lights on in the future,” said Lanny Nickell, COO of Southwest Power Pool.

While the Southwest Power Pool does not own the power or generate it, they are in charge of shepherding it where it's needed.

"Think air traffic controllers, they don't own the airport, the sky, the runway, or the planes, but they determine all the movements that are involved there. That's what we do with high-voltage transmission lines," said Mike Ross, SPP Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.

On Monday Oklahoma relied heavily on energy imported from our neighbors who eventually were also stretched to the max.

“As our neighbor’s conditions began to deteriorate those imports of energy we were relying on began to reduce,” said Nickell.               

Then after gobbling up its own energy reserves SPP issued a level 3 alert, something they have never done before.

The alert directs companies like OG&E to start interrupting service in an effort to restore reserves.

They know who to interrupt and how to achieve it and in some cases, those are residential customers, some are commercial, it's entirely dependent on the arrangements they have in place to achieve whatever amount of reduction to say we need.    

SPP said Tuesday morning another large surge is expected, they ask that residents not do laundry or run dishwashers at that time.