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SPP, MISO issue alerts ahead of high peakload, wintry weather

Houston — The Southwest Power Pool and Midcontinent Independent Service Operator issued alerts Monday in response to weather forecasts that predicted record-low temperatures and higher-than-normal peakload, driving up power prices.

SPP issued a resource alert for Monday evening through Wednesday "due to high forecasted load, uncertainty of outage return to service, and extreme cold weather" within the SPP footprint. The grid operator said it "may use greater unit commitment notification timeframes."

"Much of the central and eastern US will be enveloped in a region of much below average temperatures over the next two days, along with potential for widespread record cold morning low temperatures and record low afternoon high temperatures," the US National Weather Service wrote Monday afternoon.

Peakload in SPP was projected to increase about 5.5% Tuesday to about 38,300 MW, according to the grid operator. Cold weather was driving increased power demand, with high temperatures across the SPP footprint forecast as much as 26 degrees below normal.

Day-ahead on-peak power at SPP South Hub was offered at $74/MWh on the Intercontinental Exchange, $48 higher than Friday's settlement, a price jump reflected at other liquid power trading hubs, such as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas' North hub, ahead of the cold front.

MISO declared a cold weather alert in its South region, which includes much of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and part of Texas. MISO said its operators "should be prepared for communication about fuel restrictions."

The declaration of a cold weather alert indicates that MISO will be requesting generators to postpone outages and begin winterizing units until the alert period ends.

Peak demand in all of MISO should increase about 6.5% Tuesday to about 91,500 MW, then remain close to that level on Wednesday, according to the grid operator.

The peakload forecasts for Tuesday would be the highest for each ISO since October 2, when load reached 94,270 MW in MISO and 38,729 MW in SPP. SPP provides power to Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, as well as parts of Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and South Dakota, among other states.

--Emily Burleson,

--Edited by Gail Roberts,