ERCOT Press Release: Grid Operator Taking Extra Steps to Avoid Electricity Shortage as Severe Cold Weather Returns

By Bouncey, February 8, 2011, Energy Efficiency, News

February 8, 2011 – Consumers and businesses are encouraged to reduce their electricity use during peak demand hours over the next few days from 6 – 9 a.m.  and 4 – 8 p.m.  to help reduce the risk of electricity emergencies or the need for rotating outages.

“The National Weather Service is anticipating severe cold weather statewide this week, as another arctic air mass is expected to reach deep into Texas, dropping temperatures back into the teens and twenties,” said Trip Doggett, CEO, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid operator for the state.

EXTRA GENERATION RESERVED FOR NEXT FEW DAYS

“In anticipation of this severe cold weather, ERCOT will procure additional generation capacity for real-time operations to help maintain reliable delivery of power during this extreme weather event over the next few days,” he said.

Wednesday’s peak demand is currently projected to be more than 54,000 MW between 8-9 p.m. , and more than 58,000 – which would be a new winter record – between 7-8 a.m. on Thursday.  The current winter peak demand record is 56,334 MW which occurred Feb. 2, between 7 and 8 p.m.

The grid continues to have about 2,700 MW of generation capacity unavailable because of unplanned or forced outages.

“Although we have no immediate concerns for the possibility of rotating outages tomorrow morning, ERCOT will be monitoring the grid closely because additional unexpected major losses of generation could force operators and utilities to begin emergency procedures to avoid an uncontrolled statewide blackout,” Doggett said.  “Rotating outages are ordered only as a last resort to ensure the security of the statewide transmission grid. “

CONSERVATION TIPS

  • Turn thermostats to 68 degrees or below in the daytime and to 55 degrees at night or when leaving for the day.
  • Turn off and un-plug non-essential lights and appliances.
  • Avoid running large appliances such as washers, dryers, and electric ovens during peak energy demand hours.
  • Close shades and blinds at night to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows.
  • 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.

See more conservation tips at “Powerful Advice,” Public Utility Commission of Texas:

www.puc.state.tx.us

ROTATING OUTAGES BACKGROUND

Rotating outages are controlled, temporary interruptions of electrical service, initiated by ERCOT when the power needed to run the grid is not matched by the power being provided by generation companies.  In these situations, ERCOT instructs utilities to reduce consumer demand on the grid by conducting temporary outages at the local distribution level.  The utilities determine the locations and durations of the rotating outages.

While each transmission/distribution service provider submits an emergency plan to ERCOT, ERCOT has no control over, nor knowledge of, individual customer outages.

WHO TO CALL FOR OUTAGE INFORMATION?

For information about the how the utilities implement rotating outages and exemptions, call the transmission and distribution service provider on your electric bill.

Consumer Assistance Hotline

Public Utility Commission Hotline – 1-888-782-8777

 

Utility Information

Check your electric bill to identify your utility company or transmission provider.

American Electric Power – AEP

Austin Energy

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative

Brownsville Public Utilities Board

Bryan Texas Utilities

CenterPoint Energy

College Station Utilities

CPS Energy – San Antonio

Denton Municipal Electric

Garland Power & Light

LCRA

Magic Valley Electric Cooperative

Oncor

Rayburn County Electric Cooperative

Sharyland Utilities

South Texas Electric Cooperative

Texas-New Mexico Power

ERCOT Region

The ERCOT Region includes Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Abilene and the Rio Grande Valley.  It does not include the El Paso area, the Texas Panhandle, Northeast Texas (Longview, Marshall and Texarkana), and Southeast Texas (Beaumont, Port Arthur, and the Woodlands).  Find region maps at this link.

Additional updates will be distributed to the News Bulletins list and posted on the ERCOT website when we have new information.   To sign up for news releases, go to the Email List Manager (http://lists.ercot.com) and select “News_Bulletins.”

# # #

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to approximately 22 million Texas customers – representing 85 percent of the state’s electric load and 75 percent of the Texas land area.  As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units.  ERCOT also manages financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers customer switching for 6.5 million Texans in competitive choice areas.  ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

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Bouncey Bunny is the official "spokesbunny" for Bounce Energy, a Texas-based energy company. Bounce is committed to delivering value to our customers through excellent customer service, innovative plans and products, and competitive pricing.

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