When severe weather causes an outage, all available crews are dispatched to restore service as long as it is safe to do so. Updates are provided on our Facebook and Twitter pages as more information becomes available.
Useful Electrical and Gas Service Outage Information
Montana-Dakota provides electric and gas services to communities throughout the region and occasionally service interruptions occur. Service interruptions are either scheduled or unscheduled occurrences that affect the availability of gas or electric resources to our customers. If you experience a gas or electrical service emergency please contact Montana-Dakota by phone, 24 hours a day by calling 800-638-3278.
Montana-Dakota’s Safety and Education web pages provide additional information to assist customers with understanding how to respond to various utility events. Please, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the helpful information on our Safety and Education web pages.
The world’s weather is an incredibly complex and amazing wonder of nature. Unfortunately, sometimes the weather affects the infrastructure that Montana-Dakota uses to provide customers with access to resources. We have put together the following list of web resources to help our customers understand and prepare for various weather related events.
General Weather Links
- National Weather Service
- National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Weather Channel
State Emergency Management Links
Summertime is upon us, which brings all the great things such as grilling, boating, hiking, camping and time with family. It also can bring hot weather, which means an increase in energy demand.
Montana-Dakota Utilities has sufficient electric generation resources to meet its peak demand requirements. The company, however, does not operate the regional transmission grid. Montana-Dakota is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), an organization that operates the electric grid across 15 states, stretching from Louisiana to the Canadian province of Manitoba.
MISO and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) have communicated concerns that there is risk for the MISO region to encounter days where it does not have enough electric generation to meet demand, especially during extreme hot conditions.
Why is there potential for a shortfall of power to meet demand?
North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and parts of Iowa and Wisconsin all have excess generation to support the needs of their service areas. The states with a deficit include parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri.
What happens if there is a shortfall?
If demand exceeds supply, MISO will then call for a firm load shed or rolling blackout, which is a controlled, temporary power outage that power grid operators use to manage the system. These short-term interruptions, which generally last less than one hour, help reduce the likelihood of longer, large-scale outages.
What can customers do?
- Use only necessary lights and turn them off when you leave a room.
- Use fewer electrical appliances.
- Turn your air conditioning thermostat up a few degrees.
- Keep window covers closed during the day.
- Delay unnecessary laundry and dishwashing.
Customers with a medical need that requires consistent electricity should have a backup plan in case of a power outage, not only in a high-demand scenario, but to account for any type of power outage, such as storm damage.
Why doesn’t Montana-Dakota run its own electric grid?
- If Montana-Dakota has electric generation resources out of service for maintenance or repairs, it can draw on power from generating units in other states.
- Buying power from the MISO market has saved Montana-Dakota customers millions of dollars over the years via access to power at prices lower than the company could provide with its own generating units.
- There also is an advantage to being located at the far edge of the MISO system where there is a surplus of generation. During periods of high demand within MISO, it doesn’t help the overall system to create temporary power outages within Montana-Dakota’s service territory if there is not sufficient electrical transmission to move all of the power out of the state.
In summary …
The company has sufficient generation resources to meet its peak demand requirements. While we do not anticipate any issues and a blackout or firm load shed event is not likely, there is always a possibility it could happen.