Federal Regulators Open Inquiry Into Power Outages


Wednesday, February 17th 2021, 6:27 pm
By: Storme Jones


OKLAHOMA CITY -

As of Wednesday afternoon, Oklahoma is at a level one energy emergency meaning there's no current need for rolling blackouts. However, Oklahomans know all too well that could change at any moment.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is now looking into blackouts across the region. The Southwest Power Pool is FERC’s regional transmission organization over Oklahoma and 13 other states.

“What are ways that OG&E or public utility companies can improve their infrastructure so that we don't experience these outages,” Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC, asked.

Tuesday, FERC announced a joint inquiry along with North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) into bulk power systems' response to extreme winter weather.

"For now, the emphasis must remain on restoring power to customers and securing the reliability of the bulk-power system,” a FERC news release said.

“In the days ahead, FERC and NERC will formally begin the inquiry, which will work with other federal agencies, states, regional entities and utilities to identify problems with the performance of the bulk-power system and, where appropriate, solutions for addressing those issues."

Munson said she's been in touch with OG&E, which falls under Southwest Power Pool’s distributing, asking for more information to be shared ahead of potential blackouts.

“Communication - I think that’s something that is such a simple and reasonable ask so that customers can prepare for an outages especially one that is like this that is planned and controlled,” Munson said.

SPP tells News 9 they are ready to participate in discussions to improve future responses.