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Just a few hours after declaring Energy Emergency Alert Level 2, the Southwest Power Pool has downgraded their status to Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 (EEA Level 3), which means that rolling blackouts are now imminent for Southwest Power Pool utilities. The winter storm which is making its way across Texas has brought record-cold temperatures to many Texas cities, and on Monday morning, wind chill values below zero.

"An EEA3 signals that SPP's operating reserves are below the required minimum. SPP has also directed its member utilities to be prepared to implement controlled interruptions of service if necessary to mitigate the risk of more widespread and longer-lasting outages."

SPP officials then posted on social media, "After declaring an Energy Emergency Alert Level 3 at 10:08 a.m. this morning, and after exhausting all other options to ensure the continued reliability of the regional grid, SPP is directing member utilities to implement controlled interruptions of service effective immediately."

The term 'controlled interruptions', is another way of describing rolling blackouts, which is what has already been implemented across ERCOT on Monday due to record-high electrical use.

Lubbock-area utilities operating in the Southwest Power Pool are Lubbock Power & Light, Lyntegar Electric Co-op and South Plains Electric Co-op. In the Amarillo area, and the Texas Panhandle, Xcel Energy provides electricity, and works with co-ops.

Southwest Power Pool

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A note concerning some definitions of terms, from the Southwest Power Pool:

An EEA3 is the final of three levels of energy emergency. Descriptions of all most common reliability events are provided below in increasing order of severity:

Normal Operations: SPP has enough generation to meet demand and available reserves, and it foresees no extreme or abnormal threats to reliability.

Weather Alert: Declared when extreme weather is expected in SPP’s reliability coordination service territory.

Resource Alert: Declared when severe weather conditions, significant outages, wind-forecast uncertainty and/or load-forecast uncertainty are expected in SPP’s balancing authority area.

Conservative Operations: Declared when SPP determines there is a need to operate its system conservatively based on weather, environmental, operational, terrorist, cyber or other events.

Maximum Emergency Generation Notification: Issued when SPP foresees a need to make use of emergency ranges of resources.

Energy Emergency Alert Level 1:  Declared when all available resources have been committed to meet obligations, and SPP is at risk of not meeting required operating reserves.

Energy Emergency Alert Level 2:  Declared when SPP can no longer provide expected energy requirements and is an Energy Deficient Entity, or when SPP foresees or has implemented procedures up to, but excluding, interruption of firm load commitments.

Energy Emergency Alert Level 3:  At this level, SPP is utilizing operating reserves such that it is carrying reserves below the required minimum and has initiated assistance through the Reserve Sharing Group. Declared when SPP foresees or has implemented firm load obligation interruption. Before requesting an EEA 3, SPP will have already provided the appropriate internal notifications to its Market Participants.

Restoration Event:  Defined as a major or catastrophic grid outage which could be a total or partial regional blackout, island situation or system separation.