Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Ruston prepares for possible rolling blackouts

Nancy Bergeron
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Article Image Alt Text

Ruston utility customers could begin experiencing temporary power losses amid rolling blackouts ordered by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.

The city has no choice but to implement the short-term blackouts if MISO directs it do so, Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said this morning.

He said MISO will likely give officials less than an hour to start the process. There is no timetable for if or when MISO’s directive may come.

“We don’t know what they’re going to ask us to do, but we want to be prepared,” Walker said.

If the city is forced to implement rolling blackouts, here’s how they’ll work:

Each of Ruston’s 22 electrical circuits will be taken offline in rotating order for one hour. Only customers served by that circuit will lose electricity. The outage will not affect water or sewer service.

Power should be restored approximately an hour later. Each circuit will go down once every 22 hours.

“In a 22-hour space, no one should be without power more than an hour,” Walker said.

The city has no idea how many days it may be required to do blackouts, if it has do them.

The potential power interruptions come as fierce winter weather continues to grip 75% of the nation. MISO controls the delivery of electricity in Louisiana and 14 other states.

The company said the rolling outages are necessary to avoid bigger problems caused by the current surge on the power grid regionwide. MISO is the reliability coordinator for several Louisiana utilities including Entergy.

Though Entergy does not serve the city of Ruston, the power the city buys flows over Entergy lines. That’s why Ruston may be forced into mandated blackouts.

Walker said the city got its first hint at possible blackouts Tuesday night when it received a telephone call from MISO ordering it reduce its power usage by one megawatt within 30 minutes.

It cut power to the lights at the city sports complex, as well as other city facilities that have generator backup, plus part of the residential area along West Alabama Avenue.

The lights had been off for about a half-hour when officials received a call from Entergy saying Ruston could go back to full power.

The possibility of controlled outages is separate from any disruptions that could be caused by downed power lines. As of early this afternoon, no weather-related outages had been reported.