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When the temperature rises

You probably already know that Alliant Energy generates power through various generating facilities, but you may not have realized that getting power to your home is a team effort. Alliant Energy is a member of Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a not-for-profit, member-based organization that serves as a safety net for energy production and distribution.

MISO includes a number of states across the Midwest, ranging from Louisiana in the south all the way up to sections of Canada. MISO is responsible for ensuring there’s enough energy available to power the entire region at all times of the day, including during peak demand.

Map of MISO Region from 2015

Our membership with MISO makes it possible for Alliant Energy to ensure we have enough energy to power all our customers' needs, including a buffer for excess demand. Here’s what you should know about our relationship with MISO, and how it benefits our customers:

  1. The power is always on. MISO manages the transmission of electricity within a multi-state region, including Iowa and Wisconsin. Generation resources in this area, including those owned by Alliant Energy, are made available to be dispatched by the MISO energy market in a least cost and reliable manner. At any given point in time, we may be supplying energy to or receiving energy from other areas. Whether it’s generated by Alliant Energy or another MISO member, we have the power necessary to meet customer demand.
  2. We can handle what Mother Nature throws at us. During extreme weather events such as extended heat waves or cold stretches when air conditioners or furnaces are consistently running, utilities can draw upon power generated by others. MISO organizations work together to prevent widespread outages, which benefits all customers.
  3. We’re prepared for the unexpected. As much as we prepare and plan, there are situations during extreme heat and cold that stress the energy grid. When this happens, MISO can alert utilities to implement temporary measures to help lower their overall customer demand. This includes canceling planned generation maintenance. Additionally, MISO can also line up emergency energy sources in case they are needed and buy energy from areas outside of MISO. We also have programs to lower customer demand, including our interruptible program, in which commercial or industrial customers agree to curb energy use in return for a discounted rate. Finally, customers enrolled in our Smart Hours program allow us to adjust thermostats to lower the demand and help ensure energy needs are met during peak demand events.

Understanding the energy market and real-time demand can be complicated. Knowing that the Midwest has an established grid operator with protocols in place for all scenarios provides peace of mind for Alliant Energy and our customers.

Chris is a Communications Partner specializing in Alliant Energy’s renewable investments. Coming from a journalism background, he’s excited to tell the story of Alliant Energy’s Clean Energy Blueprint and other renewable trends in new and exciting ways.

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