July 17, 2006

Sweltering Midwest has record power demand

By Bernie Woodall

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Midwest Independent
Transmission System Operator on Monday called an emergency
alert for conservation in the ISO's western region in the face
of heat causing record power demand, a MW ISO spokesman said.

The Midwest ISO -- which covers part or all of 15 states
from Ohio to Montana -- set a record for peak demand on Monday
at 131,527 megawatts, breaking the previous record of 131,434
MW from August 3, 2005.

The power usage was still rising Monday afternoon and the
Midwest ISO was expected to reach a peak of 135,800 MW.

The extremely hot weather is causing the record demand,
said Carl Dombek, Midwest ISO spokesman.

Monday will be hotter in Minneapolis with a forecast high
of 94 degrees Fahrenheit than in Miami (87 F), according to the
National Weather Service.

The emergency alert impacting six utilities in Minnesota,
the Dakotas and Montana means conservation measures must be
taken to ensure reliable electricity delivery, Dombek said.

The Midwest ISO believes it has adequate power supplies to
meet Monday's demand, he said.

"We are well prepared for this type of situation. Our
operations staff is staying in constant contact with balancing
authorities and generation owners to confirm operating needs
and capabilities throughout the system," said John Bear, senior
vice president and chief operating officer of the Midwest ISO.

The six utilities the Midwest ISO specifically called on to
conserve were:

-- Northern States Power in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin,
North Dakota and South Dakota. NSP is a subsidiary of Excel
Energy Inc..

-- Great River Energy in Minnesota, which is a Touchstone
Energy Cooperative company.

-- Minnesota Power in Minnesota, a division of Allete Inc..

-- Otter Tail Power in Minnesota, North Dakota and South

-- Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency.

-- Montana-Dakota Utilities in Montana, North Dakota, South
Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming. A division of MDU Resources

The temperature in Minneapolis more than 20 F higher than
the norm.

In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the forecast high of 90 F on
Monday is 15 F higher than normal, according to forecaster
Meteorlogix. There is a slight cooling on Tuesday and then
temperatures will rise on Wednesday to 95 F, Meteorlogix said.

Chicago's high temperature will be 95 F on Monday,
according Meteorlogix.

The Midwest ISO also covers part of Manitoba in Canada.