Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
When snow, ice, and freezing temperatures hit big parts of the United States and left many without power or running water, Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities stepped up to help out.
'We have a capacity contract with RPGI (Resale Power Group of Iowa) and they are a joint action agency that does our bidding in the MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) market,” General Manager Jack Hedgecock said. 'Part of that contract means in times of emergency situations, we may be asked to generate energy for MISO or for the national grid, and that's exactly what happened last week.”
For three days, the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities ran their generators outside of the regular Mt. Pleasant load.
'As of right now, Mt. Pleasant is only producing a 10- to 11-megawatt load, and seeing that we have a 24-megawatt system, we were able to generate energy to satisfy the community, unburden the grid system, and help out others without enough power,” Hedgecock said.
'From 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the 16th and 17th, we ran the generators, and on the 18th, we ran them from 5 a.m. to noon then again 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” he said. 'I think just last week alone we burned 58,350 gallons of diesel fuel.”
The call for emergency conditions came when the Texas national grid (ERCOT) couldn't provide energy to a large area of its coverage, leaving over 2 million without power. The shortage of all resources was stated to be the problem.
'ERCOT didn't have a lot of options for preserving the bigger picture and protecting the grid,” Hedgecock said. 'I think they did the best that they could with what they had. It's an unfortunate situation.”
'Sometimes we forget how dependent we are on the electric grid and all it touches,” he said. 'Yes, Texas was without electricity but also running water, drinking water, no way to use technology if it went dead. That's why it was important for us to stabilize the grid, which we did.”
Hedgecock thanked residents in Mt. Pleasant and Henry County for helping out by reducing their energy consumption.
'The people did a really good job at conserving energy,” he said. 'Mt. Pleasant Municipal Utilities will continue to do what we can to provide good customer service and plan for the future, because even though we can't guarantee continuity in service as no one can do that, we can assure the public that we're doing what we can to have interconnections and backups.”