Energy Alert Status

The country is consuming more energy that it can create. That’s causing potential energy shortfalls across the U.S., including Pierre.

  • Because of ongoing high energy use across the country, experts are projecting nationwide  electricity shortages.
  • When there’s more demand than generated energy, it can cause catastrophic electrical system failures.
  • To prevent long-term system failures, controlled outages become necessary.
  • A controlled outage is a temporary power outage.
  • Controlled outages are issued throughout the country to lessen electrical demand.
  • Electrical systems from the Canadian border to Texas, including South Dakota, are tied together.
Grid Conditions_Normal

What this means for you

  • Pierre utility customers may be subject to a controlled electrical outage. 
  • The City will not know if a controlled outage will happen until immediately before the outage begins.
  • The City will make every effort to inform the public of a controlled outage.
  • Controlled outages could last up to two hours.
  • If ordered in Pierre, controlled outages will be issued in geographical zones; the whole community shouldn’t be impacted at once.
  • The exact time or date of the need for a controlled outage isn’t predictable.

What can you do?

Remain informed on energy status by      

  • registering for email or text message updates 
  • listening for local news announcements

Know the terms 

  • An energy alert means potential for an outage is increasing; customers should  reduce energy use
  • An energy emergency means temporary controlled outages have been ordered.

 Conserve energy

  • Turn up thermostat a few degrees
  • Close drapes to keep sun out
  • Shut off unneeded lights
  • Delay use of large appliances until evening  

Why is there potential for an outage?

Electricity is a unique product that is generated on demand; it is created at the immediate time of use. There is no meaningful storage technology.  As the country has developed and federal energy policies have changed, the demand for energy has outpaced its generation. 

Contributing factors are:

  • Warmer / colder than normal temperatures
  • Increased use of renewable energy (wind and solar) that might not be available when needed
  • Closure of coal-fueled energy generation plants that can produce energy on demand.

Controlled outages will most likely occur when there are extreme  temperatures. Controlled outages will remain a nationwide energy conservation tactic until new energy technology can keep up with the demand for energy. 

Electricity generated by the Oahe Dam provides electricity from Western Minnesota, to the tip of Texas, and throughout the entire state of California. The City of Pierre is only allowed to receive about 60% of its energy from the hydroelectric dam. Most power plants operate the same way, distributing power throughout a very large geographic area.