How does Dixie Electric’s relationship with its wholesale energy provider affect the request to reduce energy use in January?

During the extremely cold weather in January that led to Dixie Electric and other electric providers in the region requesting voluntary reductions, we put a short video on our Facebook page to help explain what was going on and why. Hopefully it helped, but it left me thinking that the video didn’t go far enough. So, for the next two or three months, my article will focus on our relationship with our wholesale provider, Cooperative Energy, and with the regional transmission operator, MISO, who is also the reliability coordinator. There will also be complimentary information on the following pages.

The electric grid consists of three basic components: generation, transmission, and distribution. Many electric energy providers, particularly investor-owned utilities, own all or part of all three components. Others, like most electric cooperatives, usually own either generation and transmission or distribution, but not all three.

Dixie Electric is an electric distribution cooperative. That means that we don’t own or operate any generation facilities or own any high voltage transmission lines. Instead, we own and operate the substations where electric energy is delivered from the generating plants through the transmission lines. We also own and operate the distribution lines that carry power from the substations to the homes and businesses in our service area.

Since Dixie Electric doesn’t own any generation or transmission facilities, we have to purchase power to be delivered to our substations. A common assumption is that we buy all our power from Mississippi Power Company. As stated earlier, Cooperative Energy, an electric generation and transmission cooperative, is our wholesale provider. In 1941, Dixie Electric and six other electric distribution cooperatives in the state formed South Mississippi Electric Power Association, now known as Cooperative Energy.

Cooperative Energy originally acted as an agent for the member distribution cooperatives to bundle power purchases to get better pricing by purchasing in larger volumes than each cooperative could on their own. Over the years, Cooperative Energy began building transmission lines and generation to the point where today they either own or have power purchase agreements in place with enough capacity to provide all 11-member cooperatives with ???% of their requirements. Mississippi Power Company is just one of the companies that Cooperative Energy has agreements with.

Understanding our relationship with Cooperative Energy is the first step in explaining why the requests to reduce use were made. Next month we’ll continue this discussion by looking at how Cooperative Energy became a member of MISO, the regional transmission organization and reliability coordinator, and how our operations are affected.

Randy Smith, General Manager

Building a new home? Get the Advantage with Comfort Advantage

Dixie Electric Power Association offers the Comfort Advantage program for members who are building new homes or replacing their heating/cooling systems with a heat pump. This is a joint program with other electric cooperatives/power associations through Cooperative Energy, its wholesale power provider, to provide guidelines and incentives for energy efficient home construction. “Comfort Advantage programsContinue Reading

I haven’t touched the thermostat. Why is my bill higher?

Answer: Power bills following periods of prolonged cold weather or extreme heat can be higher even when you have not changed the thermostat. Heating and cooling costs make up the largest percentage of a home’s energy use. When the temperature changes drastically or stays extremely hot or cold, your heating/cooling unit must run longer toContinue Reading

Canceling request for voluntary reduction of electric energy

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Earlier this morning, our reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) requested that Cooperative Energy ask our end users to curtail their electricity usage between 5:00am-11:00am. This request was made in an effort to minimize strain on the electric system due to the severe temperatures which have been causing a criticalContinue Reading

Cooperative Energy Requests Members Lower Energy Use

HATTIESBURG, Miss. –Cooperative Energy has been asked by our reliability coordinator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) to request that our end users curtail their electricity use on January 18, between 5:00 am-11:00 am. The severe temperatures are causing a critical shortage of electricity in the mid United States region. This voluntary reduction of use willContinue Reading

Snowstorm Blankets South Mississippi and Brings Challenges

On Friday, Dec. 8, snow blanketed south Mississippi, affecting all seven counties in Dixie Electric’s service area. Snow laying on pine tree branches was certainly beautiful. Unfortunately, the weight of the snow brought challenges. On Wednesday, Dec. 6, weather forecasts mentioned a possible light dusting of snow on Friday, Dec. 8, up to one inch.Continue Reading

Renovations at our offices mean progress

Our three office locations are undergoing renovations to improve safety and accessibility for our members. Although all three offices are getting renovated, the degree of renovation varies based on the age of the building or how long since its last update. The Waynesboro office will receive safety improvements in the lobby area. This is aContinue Reading

Active participation and engagement are critical for co-op success.

At Dixie Electric, we are governed by a board of seven directors that is elected by the membership. This board of directors provides strategic direction and guidance to ensure that we continue to serve the interests of you, our members. In addition, the board of directors is committed to providing solutions that maintain the vibrancyContinue Reading

Translate »