State officials say they’re monitoring natural gas supplies and the power grid in Iowa as severe weather strains utilities from the Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico.
Governor Kim Reynolds met with the Iowa Utilities Board this morning and again late this afternoon.
“We are monitoring very, very closely what’s happening in Texas and Oklahoma,” Reynolds said during an interview with Radio Iowa. “And we have experienced some rolling blackouts, just to try to manage our natural gas resources.”
Some western Iowa utilities that are part of the Southwest Power Pool that covers 14 states implemented temporarily outages to balance supply with demand. The governor said this is “uncharted territory” and she warns natural gas prices are going to skyrocket.
“First it was a supply issue, but it’s also going to be a cost issue because it closed Friday with some significant cost increase in natural gas cost, per unit, so that’s something we’ll have to deal with down the line,” Reynolds said. “Right now we just have to make sure that we’re managing it to the best of our ability.”
MidAmerican, Alliant Energy and Black Hills Energy are the largest utilities operating in the state and each notified the Iowa Utilities Board they have enough natural gas and electricity to meet customer demand. Wind turbines and natural gas wells have frozen in the south, just as demand for electricity — and heat — has soared there.