Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rolling Electric Blackouts Hit Collin County And All of Texas

The cold weather has forced the State of Texas into a statewide power emergency. The requirement is being led by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the state’s power transmission grid operator. The move follows an existing plan to distribute power shortages throughout the entire service area. The outages could last ten to 45 minutes per neighborhood circuit. A circuit powers between 1,000 to 3,000 customers.

The rotating outages was implemented before sunrise Wednesday morning to compensate for a generation shortage. ERCOT is urging consumers and businesses to follow these steps:
  • Limit electricity usage to only that consumption which is absolutely necessary. Turn off all unnecessary lights, appliances, and electronic equipment.
  • Businesses should minimize the use of electric lighting and electricity-consuming equipment as much as possible.
  • Large consumers of electricity should consider shutting down or reducing non-essential production processes.
  • Without this safety valve, generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a region-wide outage.
The state’s power grid system must shed 4,000 megawatts of power, and of that, Austin Energy share of that is about 158 megawatts, according to ERCOT.

All generators in ERCOT are required to participate regardless of whether particular electic power generators have sufficient power capacity for there particular locality. ERCOT reports this emergency is due to an imbalance in the statewide electric grid between the power being demanded statewide and the generation online at this time.

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