There is a chance that Maine could see rolling blackouts this winter, just like they see in third world countries or California in the summer.

According to a report by WGME, we could be in real trouble if the state sees an extended cold snap at any point this winter.

 

Why The Cause For Concern?

According to ISO New England, the operator of the grid that serves Maine, the state relies heavily on power that is generated by fossil fuels.  Of particular concern is the fact that much of the energy comes from the burning of natural gas.  In the last year, the cost of natural gas has skyrocketed.  In fact, it has nearly doubled in price.  From October 2020 to October 2021, the price increased by about 95%.

Additionally, there appears to be a shortage of the fuel looming.  The United States is not the only country competing for the supply.  Countries in Europe and Asia also use a significant amount of the fuel.

 

What About The Power Outages?

ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie says that a worst case scenario could see Mainers dealing with rolling power outages.  However, if the situation ends up requiring that, the outages would be targeted and limited in length.  In other words, they won't not be shutting off the power to hospitals and the average person would not be without power for hours and hours.  Additionally, residents would be warned in advance of any upcoming blackouts.

In the past, both heating oil and liquified natural gas were used to fill in the gaps when there was not enough natural gas.  However, this winter, supplies of those fuels are tight, as well.

 

What Is ISO New England?

According to their website, they are a non-profit organization that manages the electrical grid in several New England states, including Maine.

Their site says:

We are the independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for keeping electricity flowing across the six New England states and ensuring that the region has reliable, competitively priced wholesale electricity today and into the future.

Hopefully, any issues will be taken care of before the really cold weather hits us.

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