Hoeven describes investigation into power outages

By: Amanda Rooker

WASHINGTON (KVRR) – Thousands of households across North Dakota and Minnesota had their power cut off last week without any kind of warning. Now, two federal agencies have launched a joint inquiry into what went wrong and North Dakota Senator John Hoeven says we need to feel more confident in our access to power.

“This cold snap demonstrates how important it is that we have base load energy available 24 hours a day seven days a week,” Hoeven said.

Extreme weather across the nation last week caused rolling blackouts in Texas which made it all the way up to North Dakota. Both states are part of a shared power grid called the Southwest Power Pool.

The organization ordered the blackouts last Monday to conserve energy and prevent unexpected power failures.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation have launched a joint inquiry to identify problems with the performance of the bulk-power system and solutions for addressing those issues.

The FERC chairman says the inquiry will also address how to ensure reliability regardless of the weather.

“This wild weather means that utilities transmission owners, system operators, generators and others need to ensure that their facilities are resilient to the challenges posed by climate change,” Richard Glick said.

In response to the inquiry, Hoeven is pressing the agency to ensure the reliability and affordability of the electricity grid.

“We need FERC to work with us on fair compensation and to know whether it’s the coldest day in the winter or the hottest day in the summer, that power is going to be there for consumers,” Hoeven said.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is urging Americans not to jump to conclusions on who’s to blame before the investigation is complete. However, it’s also saying tangible solutions will be implemented and may involve a combination of operations, planning, and market design measures.