The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) issued an order today requesting information on Iowa electric utilities’ plans for addressing potential electric service load shedding on peak usage days for the upcoming winter season.

The IUB is taking this action in light of previous long-duration extreme weather events, such as February 2021 winter storms that resulted in energy infrastructure failures and electric generation load shedding across the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) regions. The load shed, a temporary shutdown made to avoid system failure, affected some parts of Iowa and jeopardized the reliability of the North American bulk power system. The impact of wide-area extreme weather events has underscored the need to consider scenarios for resource planning.

Iowa Code § 476.17 authorizes the IUB to adopt rules requiring public utilities to establish peak-load management procedures. The IUB adopted rules at 199 Iowa Administrative Code 20.11 requiring rate-regulated utilities to have plans for notifying customers in the event of a peak demand. The plans are to include an explanation of what conditions will require a peak alert, general notice to the public of the peak alert, and the messages that will be sent to the public. The rule requires that the plan be made available to the IUB upon request.

The IUB has previously opened Docket Nos. INU-2022-0002 and INU-2023-0001 to address projected energy shortfalls for the past winter and summer, respectively. The IUB continues to stress the importance of Iowa’s electric utilities' need to plan for potential shortfalls in electric capacity and possible need to shed load during peak usage days.

Today’s order opens Docket No. INU-2023-0002 to further the IUB’s dialogue regarding Iowa electric utilities’ preparedness into the winter of 2023-2024, and to address a set of questions for the utilities to answer by November 17.

The order also sets a technical conference for 9 a.m. November 28, 2023, to allow the utilities to share their plans for load shedding on peak winter days and answer further questions from the IUB. Persons with disabilities who will require assistive services or devices to observe or participate in this technical conference should contact the IUB at (515) 725-7300 at least five business days in advance to request arrangements.