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Reynolds issues proclamation to ease fuel hauling rules as power companies push to keep homes warm

The governor's office says the high demand for the fuels has created challenges to accessing them. The proclamation is in effect through March 17.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa’s governor has signed a proclamation to ease transport rules for those hauling motor and heating fuels as a deep freeze across the Midwest sends demand for those fuels soaring. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the proclamation Monday. It temporarily suspends Iowa regulations that limit the hours allowed to haul propane, diesel, natural gas and other fuels used for residential, commercial and agricultural heating. 

The proclamation also temporarily suspends some provisions limiting the movement of oversize and overweight loads of fuel.  

Reynolds’ office says the high demand for the fuels has created challenges to accessing them. The proclamation is in effect through March 17.

Reynolds addressed the issue during her Wednesday press conference.

"Much of the nation is in the grips of Mother Nature— severe winter weather is again taking its toll," Reynolds said. "But this time it's causing an energy emergency in Texas and other south-central areas of the United States, where some of Iowa's energy supply comes from."

The Iowa Utilities Board Chair Geri Huser joined Reynolds' press conference to discuss more. 

"Since last week, the Iowa Utilities Board has continued to work with MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, Black Hills Energy, along with all of our rural electric cooperatives municipal utilities, and their respective utility associations to closely monitor the electric and natural gas supply to ensure that Iowa customers continue to have those services," Huser said. 

Some of Iowa's utilities, including municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives, receive their power through agreements with the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization responsible for coordinating and controlling the day-to-day electric transmission markets for states from Minnesota to Texas. 

This also includes Iowa. 

"The SPP encountered demand that exceeded his capacity to provide to its members. As a result, SPP declared a series of energy emergency alerts over the past two days," Huser said. "Currently we're in an energy emergency alert two." 

"Due to that demand outpacing available supply in certain areas, some utilities are instructed by the regional transmission operator to curtail their electric load," Huser said. "However, Iowa's largest utilities MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy and Black Hills Energy, have not been affected by any curtailments, and are projected sufficient supplies to meet the needs of their electric and natural gas customers."

Huser noted the reason for this is that there are two regional transmission organizations (RTOs) that serve Iowa. SPP is one that serves Oklahoma and Texas. 

"We are attempting to assist them in this crisis," Huser said. "While other sister-states are still struggling to restore power, the Iowa Utilities Board wants to thank Iowa's numerous utilities, especially our rural electric cooperatives and our municipal utilities that are using peaker generation to provide service across the state." 

"They have asked their employees to work 24/7 while doing everything possible to keep lights on and homes warm and safe. We're asking Iowans to continue to support those workers, and also look to conserve energy in your homes and businesses," Huser said. 

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