Most Mainers are no strangers to the occasional power outage.

Typically, these power outages happen during nasty winter weather, like nor’easters.  While there have been recent exceptions, they typically don’t last longer than a few hours.

Does Maine ever have summer power outages?

The state does see the occasional summer power outage, but they rarely involve weather events.  Normally, any summer power outage is caused by a vehicle crash taking down a utility pole, or the failure of key equipment in the infrastructure.

That could soon change.

Fre' Sonneveld / Unsplash
Fre' Sonneveld / Unsplash
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Could Maine see summer blackouts or brownouts in 2024?

According to an article on the Utility Dive website, ISO New England, which oversees the bulk power transmission lines throughout the region, is confident that they will be able to meet the peak summer electric demand.  However, if New England sees an extended period of hot weather, it could cause problems.

The article explains that ISO New England will have about 30,000 megawatts available to meet the anticipated demand of 24,553 megawatts.  This should be more than adequate during a normal summer.  If the region sees a lengthy heatwave, the increased use of air conditioning and refrigeration will strain the power grid more.  In extreme cases, the organization may have to institute controlled outages in order to keep the grid operating.

Fortunately, controlled blackouts would be a last resort.

The article explains that:

The grid operator can call for online generators to increase production, dispatch stand-by units and call for voluntary conservation before needing turning to blackouts

While we all want a warm summer, let’s just hope it doesn’t get too warm.

If you are a nerd, you can always keep an eye on how the ISO New England grid is doing on the live dashboard.  See it HERE.

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