BULLHEAD CITY –After a widespread storm that devastated MEC’s system, and damaged MEC’s transmission provider’s line, a majority of members’ power has now been restored. Line crews and the operations team worked around the clock to get to this point and will continue to repair the storm damage until every member has power.
Last night with wind microbursts reporting over 80 mph, the storm left more than 36,000 residents without power for 20 hours. At 2:00pm Monday, there were approximately 20,000 residents out of power. Currently, there are 8,000 members remaining without power, with crews continuing to work through the night to restore power to members.
The main reason for the extensive outage was no access to the bulk electric grid. Our transmission provider’s 230 kV line was down regardless of MEC’s distribution system, which shut off MEC’s ability to distribute power to members. Once connected to the 230 kV transmission line, crews were able to re-energize multiple substations to reroute and restore power to the majority of members.
Please remember, there are many ways to report an outage. You can call our toll-free line at 1-844-632-2667, text “outage” to 55050 from a number linked to your MEC account or use our SmartHub application on your mobile device to report the outage.
Mohave Electric Cooperative is asking its members to begin curtailing their energy use on Monday, September 5, and Tuesday, September 6.
The Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) announced on September 1 an energy emergency across 14 states. California, especially, who has worked toward shutting down coal-fired and natural gas power plants in favor of more renewable energy sources, now finds that they are not producing enough energy to supply their customers and as a result began purchasing power in other markets including the Western Interconnection that includes Arizona.
“We have been monitoring supply and costs daily over this energy emergency. Today (Monday), due to the damage from the windstorm, MEC has less system resources available to try to provide power to members across the entire system,” said Carlson. “We want to avoid overloading the equipment, so we are asking members to conserve. Tomorrow (Tuesday) between the extreme temperature and extreme costs, we are asking all our members to conserve where they can. This could be a concern over the next few days, and our members conserving energy will avoid a worsening situation.”
When entities outside the state begin purchasing power from Arizona generating stations and the western energy market, the demand increases and consequently so does the price – as much as 10x the normal price or more. In the summer, MEC must purchase small amounts of that market power as well – depending on member demand. MEC CEO Tyler Carlson asks that members of the cooperative conserve energy where possible to help keep costs as low as possible and avoid an energy shortage or no power at all.
“There are some simple things members can do to conserve, such as grilling outside instead of using the stove and oven,” said Carlson. “If there is a need to do laundry, dry the clothes outside instead of the dryer, or at least delay it until after 7 pm. Turn lights and fans off and turn the air conditioner up a few extra degrees.”
Other ideas to reduce energy consumption include: make a switch to energy efficient appliances and lighting, unplug appliances when not in use, check/change you’re A/C filter, close your blinds and keep your refrigerator and freezer full.
MEC is not asking members to conserve to help California, but to help all members, by holding down the need to purchase power at these temporary very high costs, as well as ensuring, as much as possible, that power is available at all due to the energy emergency throughout the western states.
The supply to those in the west who are projecting shortages is currently projected to be available, but a higher demand could result in an actual shortage and the available power will be at a much-higher cost. These problems mean less energy – or possible no energy at all – is available on the open market throughout the western region. MEC is asking members to do everything possible to conserve energy during these two days.