Grid Stability versus Market Instability

Posted: September 1, 2023 at 7 a.m.

Summers are always hot here in Bullhead City and the surrounding areas, but members might remember June was pretty mild in comparing to previous years’ heat waves. However, MEC, like the majority of electric utilities – co-op and investor-owned across the state of Arizona – all surpassed their historic peak loads in July which mirrored the hottest temperatures of that month.

So with the increase in growth, temperatures, and load, the state experienced nominal outages, if any related to heat. This shows the electric grid system can work properly under extreme temperatures and load levels – essentially being scalable up or down, barring any major equipment failures. But more importantly, this shows that weather, extreme heat, and major outages are more likely to affect reliability when the market is unstable.

Meaning when supply and pricing go awry, the electric grid is less likely to deliver the power needed at the exact time to meet demand. Essentially, the power supply and demand needs aren’t matching in real time. We are pleased that July went well and will continue to keep members informed about grid reliability and market issues.

Having diversity of power resources helps avoid some of these market issues. For example, at night when solar is not available, MEC could switch to a natural gas generation source of power to meet demand needs. And even better to have the diversification of power generation locally to avoid unstable price points in the market and avoid any transmission issues and delays. MEC is actively working to build more local, diverse power generation sources to increase reliability.