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South Dakotans are asked to reduce electric and natural gas use to mitigate the risk of more widespread and longer-lasting outages during the extreme cold that is gripping the region.

What is happening?

Our Press Releases:

Energy prices escalating, customers urged to limit natural gas and electricity use for 48 hours (northwesternenergy.com)

Prices for natural gas and electricity are spiking and commercial and other customers should consider limiting their energy use for the next 48 hours when possible.

The entire region is experiencing extreme low temperatures, creating record demand and constraining energy reserves. Prices are escalating as energy demand exceeds supply.

“Prices are near historical highs in some cases,” said NorthWestern Energy Director of Long-Term Resources Bleau Lafave. “It is important for customers to be aware of these prices as they make decisions about their operations.”

The escalated prices will likely impact customers in the future with higher natural gas commodity and electric fuel purchase bills.

South Dakotans asked to conserve during energy emergency due to extreme temperatures (northwesternenergy.com)

South Dakotans are asked to reduce electric and natural gas use for the next 48 hours to mitigate the risk of more widespread and longer-lasting outages during the extreme cold that is gripping the region.

Energy reserves are constrained and there is the risk that there will not be enough supply to meet demand. NorthWestern Energy is a member of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which operates in the energy grid in South Dakota. SPP has directed members, including NorthWestern Energy, to ask its customers to reduce their energy usage to help prevent the need to mandate rolling blackouts, such as are already occurring in places like Texas.

“The extended and deep cold wave blanketing the midsection of the country is stressing the electric grid in historic proportions,” Chris Nelson, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman. “This is the type of moment where all South Dakotans need to pitch in to reduce electricity consumption to help keep the grid reliable for all of us. Thank you!” 

South Dakota residential customers can help by: turning down thermostats to 68-degrees or lower; turning off and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances; avoiding using large appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and washing machines; and delaying taking showers or baths until peak demand for energy drops.

South Dakota commercial customers can help by: minimizing the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. Some businesses may be able to reduce their demand for energy by delaying when they open or when they ramp up a shift.

SPP is coordinating closely with NorthWestern Energy and other members to respond to high demand for electricity, inadequate supply of natural gas, and wind-forecast uncertainty.

What are we doing?

We are working with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) to monitor escalating conditions and encouraging customers and employees to help conserve.

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What can you do?

South Dakota residential customers can help by: turning down thermostats to 68-degrees or lower; turning off and unplugging non-essential lights and appliances; avoiding using large appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and washing machines; and delaying taking showers or baths until peak demand for energy drops.

South Dakota commercial customers can help by: minimizing the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible. Some businesses may be able to reduce their demand for energy by delaying when they open or when they ramp up a shift.

Additional energy saving tips include:

  • Plan meals that don’t require the stove or microwave, get ideas here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/no-cook-dinners-raw-food-recipes
  • Concerned about your vehicle in these extreme temps? Don’t leave your vehicle plugged in longer than necessary. Leaving a block heater plugged in all night would be similar to leaving your hair dryer running.
  • Seal up air leaks. Roll up a towel and place it at the bottom of your exterior doors to ensure no cold air is sneaking in. Get additional air sealing tips here: Act Now – YouTube
  • Keep your thermostat at a consistent comfortable temp. You don’t want to make your furnace work harder right now by adjusting the temp up and down. To conserve energy, we recommend setting it at 68 degrees. Also, don’t set it so low that you risk damage to your pipes.
  • Walk around your home and look for any flashing lights. If it is not in use, shut off the juice! Phantom load can be an energy sucker.
  • Celebrate Take Out Tuesday! Support your local restaurants and conserve energy by giving your stove and microwave a break.
  • Avoid electric blankets, extra heaters, and electric fireplaces right now. Rather, layer up! Experts advise wearing multiple thin layers to stay warm. A base layer helps regulate your body temp and provides light insulation.
  • Today is a great day to take PTO! Stay warm and stay inside. Grab a book, a blanket and a cozy corner to unwind!
  • Give Alexa the night off, unplug your smart home devices.
  • Dust off your board games! Turn off the screens and find alternative entertainment ideas.
  • Check out our how-to video library: How-To Videos (northwesternenergy.com)
  • Make sure fuel-burning appliances, including furnaces, are properly vented. Heavy wet, blowing snow can block heating and appliance exhaust vents, which can cause equipment to malfunction resulting in a loss of heat or a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide in the structure. Install carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. Check and replace the batteries on a regular basis. Never let a vehicle idle inside an attached garage, even with the door open. Carbon monoxide can collect in the garage or go inside a home. Never bring propane devices indoors.

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